Verizon could be looking to bolster its wireless network with Clearwire spectrum, according to the Wall Street Journal. The potential deal, of which little is known at the moment, would see the nation's number one wireless operator forking over $1.5 billion to lease Clearwire's spectrum. It's an odd move for Verizon given its past aggressive stance on spectrum acquisition, but due to legal entanglements involving Clearwire and 50-percent owner Sprint, it's likely the only available option. At present, Sprint is seeking to buy out the remaining stake in Clearwire, bringing that company and its valuable spectrum -- formerly used for WiMAX -- completely in-house.
But complicating matters is a rival bid from Dish, which is offering $25.5 billion to buy Sprint (a move prompted by its failed Clearwire bid) and build out a wireless network of its own with holdings it acquired from previous FCC spectrum auctions. With spectrum so finite a resource, the only recourse carriers have is to lease, acquire or win auctioned spectrum (should the FCC seek to free more up). Rest assured, these operator wars will only get messier and more frequent with time as the US rolls over into an all LTE future.