Phones produced for the Japanese market are usually so radically different than the ones we're used to that you don't really feel like you're missing anything. However, the new Sharp Aquos Crystal may pique your interest. The difference is that you might have a chance to buy this one soon. This device comes in two sizes—5-inches and 5.5-inches. Both of them have teeny tiny, miniscule bezels. Almost none of the body peeks out from the edge of the screen.
It's not much of a surprise at this point, but the Federal Communications Commission has approved the tri-company merger deal involving Japanese carrier SoftBank, Sprint, and Clearwire. The FCC ruling follows Justice Department approval several weeks ago, and some delicious drama that ended with Dish Network being shut out of the deal.
SoftBank is throwing $21.6 billion at Sprint to acquire a 78% stake in the company. Sprint is now also free to buy the remaining 49% of Clearwire it doesn't already own, giving it a big juicy slice of wireless spectrum.
On today's episode of All My Mergers And Acquisitions, the long-running Sprint bidding war between Dish Network and Japanese carrier SoftBank appears to be over, at least for the moment. After SoftBank increased its Sprint bid to 21.6 billion dollars for 78% of the company last week, and Sprint subsequently sued both Dish and Clearwire for getting in the way of its corporate matchmaking, Dish has withdrawn its offer. According to Reuters, the company stated that submitting a new offer by today's deadline was not practical.
Oh, what a tangled web gigantic mega-corps weave. Japanese telecom SoftBank wants to get its hands on an American wireless carrier, come Hell or high water, and they've just outbid Dish Network to do so. According to Reuters, Softbank has upped its bid from October of last year to $21.6 billion USD for 78% control of Sprint, topping its previous commitment of $20 billion for 70%. Dish Network is currently offering $25.5 billion in a mix of cash and stock for an outright sale, about 10% less on a share-by-share basis.
Sprint is currently in the midst of a buyout with Japanese company SoftBank that would give the foreign telecom control of not only the Now Network, but Clearwire as well, and infuse the company with some much-needed cash. Dish Network, however, hopes to derail these plans with a bid of its own, offering more cash than Softbank has on the table, as well as synergy with its existing television and and broadband packages.
AT&T has a problem on its hands. It's big, but is it big enough? If you're a CEO of a major corporation the answer to that question is always "no." However, the carrier has difficulty expanding on the home front. An overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens have phones with one carrier or another, so there's very little wiggle room to grab new customers. And gaining in market share when you (and all your competitors!) are dead set on locking people into two-year contracts is very difficult.
You know the drill by now. It's time for some new LTE market announcements! Woo! Party hard. The network rollouts today are coming to Pennsylvania, California, Indiana, Virginia and Puerto Rico. This comes on the heels of Sprint announcing its intention to purchase the remaining shares of Clearwire that it didn't already own.
Here's the list of new cities:
Today, Sprint announced that it would be spending $2.2bn to acquire the remaining (roughly) half of Clearwire that it doesn't already own. The transaction, which is naturally subject to regulatory approval, will give the carrier ownership of all of Clearwire's significant share of spectrum, which will be a huge boost to Sprint as it attempts to build out an LTE network to compete with Verizon and AT&T.
Of course, these deals can take forever to close, so in the meantime, the two companies have entered into a rather brilliant agreement: Sprint has promised to buy roughly $80m worth of Clearwire stock every month starting in January 2013 for up to ten months (or a total of $800m, and slightly more than 1/3rd of the total Clearwire purchase price).
Those of you who are on Sprint and thus have no need for opinions on the Nexus 4's lack of a 4G radio will probably agree: more LTE coverage is more gooder. Well, the Now Network concurs and the carrier is opening up the airwaves in a few more cities and areas, including Anderson, Indiana; Harrisonburg, Virginia; and Peabody, Massachusetts.
Here's the full list of cities that launch today (with coverage expanding in these areas over the coming months):
This morning, AT&T VP Brad Burns released a statement regarding the upcoming Softbank purchase of Sprint, and it carefully treads the line between "passive aggressive displeasure" and "seriously FCC, if this goes through, we're buying like a million carriers":