Sprint Pulls Out Of Cable Spectrum Venture

If a consortium of cable giants bids on spectrum in the upcoming FCC auction, Sprint Nextel will not be part of the bid. The 10Q Time Warner Cable filed this morning reveals that Sprint has exercised its option to exit SpectrumCo, a spectrum-bidding joint venture with some of the largest U.S. cable companies. Sprint was a non-voting, minority shareholder and owned about 5% of the company.

Last year, SpectrumCo spent $2.4 billion on spectrum licenses during a FCC auction. The joint venture, whose cable shareholders include Comcast and Time Warner Cable, will reimburse Sprint for its capital contributions. We’re assuming that based on its 5% stake, Sprint would have contributed up to $120 million toward the spectrum purchase.

It’s unlikely Sprint will bid in the forthcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction that made news yesterday. In February, chief Gary Forsee said Sprint had no interest in participating, adding “We’ve got the best spectrum position of any of our carrier competitors.”

Sprint’s separate deal for cable companies to re-sell its wireless service as part of package bundles is unchanged by this move. TWC 10-Q

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