Sprint’s plans to shut down its iDEN network next year could have an impact on Clearwire, with the broadband wireless company writing in a SEC filing that it will not continue to operate its own equipment at the Sprint locations once the network is decommissioned.
“We concluded that, for certain of the Network and base station equipment at these sites, it is not likely that we would continue to operate our equipment at the current location once Sprint decommissions its site,” according to the filing. “Therefore, we determined the useful lives of the Network and base station equipment at these sites should be accelerated beginning in the first quarter of 2012 from a weighted-average remaining useful life of approximately 5 years to approximately 1 - 2 years based on the expected date of decommissioning.”
It is unclear how many cell sites Clearwire operates in conjunction with Sprint’s iDEN network, but Fierce Wireless quotes a company spokesman who says that it amounts to a small number.
Nonetheless, the decommissioning of the iDEN network could have a negative impact on Clearwire’s network, impacting service in certain areas. Clearwire, like Sprint, is in the midst of shifting its network to a higher-performance LTE network. Sprint plans to shut down its iDEN network by the end of June 2013.
“We are working closely with Sprint to mitigate any possible effect on our WiMAX customers and on our LTE build. This work is still underway and customers can continue to use WiMAX as they normally would,” a company spokesman tells GeekWire.
Sprint has said that it plans to shut down 9,600 iDEN cell sites by the end of the third quarter.
Sprint remains a major shareholder in Clearwire, though as of June it was no longer a majority shareholder. Late last year, Sprint agreed to invest up to $1.6 billion in Clearwire, and both companies have agreed to work together on the roll out of a new LTE network.
Shares of Clearwire, which are up seven percent in the past week after the company issued a stronger than expected financial picture for the rest of the year, fell more than five percent in trading today. The company finished the past quarter with 11 million subscribers, flat with the previous quarter.