Sprint Shares Ride 4G Roller Coaster

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. ( TheStreet) -- Sprint ( S) shares were halted briefly Friday afternoon after a volatile trading session fueled by a stream of news from the company's investor meeting.

Shares of the No. 3 telco, which was recently added to Apple's ( AAPL) list of iPhone carriers, surged more than 10% in morning trading after CEO Dan Hesse predicted the phone would be one of Sprint's most profitable devices. Hesse said the iPhone will be "accretive" to the firm's profit, according to Reuters.
Trading in Sprint shares halted briefly on Friday.

Sprint, however, went on to explain that it will need to raise money to build out its own 4G LTE network, according to Barron's, sending its shares spiraling. After trading resumed mid-afternoon, Sprint's shares were down 30 cents, or 9.97%, to $2.71.

The Overland Park, Kan.-based firm, which currently relies on Clearwire's ( CLWR) WiMax 4G network, said that it will launch its 4G LTE network by mid-2012 and complete the network build-out by the end of 2013. By that time, Sprint's 4G coverage footprint is expected to cover more than 250 million people, it added.

The news sent shares of partner Clearwire into free fall, pushing the company's stock down 68 cents, or 33.22%, to $1.37.

Clearwire, however, quickly downplayed the impact of Sprint's plan.

"Clearwire is uniquely positioned to offer capacity to Sprint, and other carriers, particularly in urban areas where demand is high and their 4G spectrum will be inadequate," explained a spokesman, in a statement emailed to TheStreet. "Sprint remains dependent on Clearwire for 4G and nothing about today's announcement changes that. Even with their re-allocation of existing spectrum, it's obvious that their spectrum resources are insufficient to meet the long-term demands of mobile data."

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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