Clearwire spectrum draws telecom/cable suitors: report

NEW YORK, Oct12 (Reuters) - Clearwire Corp CLWR.O has drawn interest from big telecom operators and cable companies in an auction of wireless airwaves aimed at raising as much as $5 billion, according to a Bloomberg story.

The company, which is majority owned by Sprint Nextel S.N, has said it is looking to raise new funding from a combination of a debt offering with either a spectrum sale or an equity investment by the end of this year in order to continue expansion of a high-speed wireless network it is building.

The story, which cited unnamed people with direct knowledge of the situation, said the sale is in its second round of bidding and has attracted interest from AT&T Inc T.N, Verizon Wireless and Deutsche Telekom AG DTEGn.DE.

Spokespeople for Clearwire and AT&T declined comment. Representatives for Sprint, Verizon Wireless and Deutsche Telekom’s US subsidiary T-Mobile USA were not immediately available for comment.

Clearwire said recently that it was in talks with T-Mobile USA, the No. 4 U.S. mobile provider, about a potential investment from that company in exchange for the right to rent space on Clearwire’s network at favorable rates.

The story also said that Sprint, which contributed much of Clearwire’s spectrum holdings to the venture, is interested in the airwaves too, also citing unnamed people. Recently three top Sprint executives resigned from Clearwire’s board.

Verizon Wireless is a venture of Verizon Communications VZ.N and Vodafone Group Plc VOD.L.

Reporting by Sinead Carew; editing by Bernard Orr