Sprint shopping for more wireless spectrum, report says

CEO Dan Hesse tells Bloomberg that he's looking at deals with other companies and is considering buying spectrum through government sales.

A Sprint store in Manhattan. CNET/Marguerite Reardon

Sprint Nextel is shopping for more wireless spectrum, Bloomberg reported, as the nation's third-largest carrier tries to catch up with bigger rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse told the news service in an interview published today that Sprint's purchase of Clearwire will give it a strong position for a period of time, but Sprint wants to buy more spectrum to help it in the long term.

Sprint is looking at making deals with other companies or buying spectrum through government sales, Hesse said, according to Bloomberg.

The carrier, which late last year reached a $20.1 billion merger pact with SoftBank, has largely been on the sidelines in the spectrum rush while Verizon and AT&T have spent billions on acquisitions. But the cash from Softbank will help Sprint make more purchases. Already, it agreed to buy the stake of Clearwire that it didn't already own. It also paid $480 million to buy certain U.S. Cellular customers and spectrum.

Bloomberg, citing an analyst, noted that Sprint's options may include buying more capacity from smaller carriers like U.S. Cellular or Leap Wireless or buying them outright. It also could pursue a deal with Dish Network.

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