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Sprint says it no longer owns a majority of Clearwire

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Sprint has announced that it has dropped its holdings in Clearwire to under 50 percent.

Sprint store (STOCK)
Sprint store (STOCK)

Citing concerns that Clearwire's financial troubles could trigger defaults of its own debt, Sprint has announced that its holdings of the wireless wholesaler have dropped below 50 percent — in other words, it's no longer a majority owner. The two companies, which have long shared a WiMAX network, have had a strange relationship in recent months: Sprint's nascent LTE strategy has never been dependent on Clearwire's promised TD-LTE deployment, a sign that the carrier has hedged its bets in the event that Clearwire ultimately fails (indeed, it's had some close calls lately, including a near-miss on interest payments late last year that would suggest they're not out of the woods). There's no indication that Sprint is shifting its intention to use Clearwire's LTE airwaves in the long run to supplement its own deployment at this point — it just won't do so as a majority owner.