Friday, October 26, 2012

Clearwire Slows LTE Rollout to Control Costs

 Clearwire will  defer a portion of its LTE network construction in order to better align CAPEX with the expected receipt of LTE revenues.  The company now plans to have 2,000 LTE sites on air by the end of June 2013 and expects to start receiving Sprint prepayment installments in June 2013.  Clearwire said its full year 2012 CAPEX budget is expected to total $125 to $175 million, as compared to most recently provided guidance of $350 to $400 million.

Clearwire ended Q3 2012 with approximately 10.5 million total subscribers, up 10% from 9.5 million subscribers in third quarter 2011. The subscriber base consists of 1.4 million retail subscribers and 9.1 million wholesale subscribers, reflecting 21,000 retail net subscriber adds and 489,000 wholesale net subscriber losses during third quarter 2012. Wholesale subscribers consist primarily of Sprint 3G/4G smartphone customers.

The company said its spectrum holdings give it a strong position in the market.

"Recent developments in the U.S. wireless industry serve as a direct reminder of the key strategic role deep spectrum resources and a global LTE ecosystem will play in the long-term success of any 4G mobile broadband operator," said Erik Prusch, President and CEO of Clearwire. "Clearwire's unmatched spectrum assets and focus on serving major population centers will be the foundation on which we will build a critical 4G LTE network positioned to serve the needs of the industry and the rapidly growing base of 4G customers across the country."

For Q3 2012, Clearwire posted revenue of $313.9 million, down slightly year over year due to a 15% YoY decline in wholesale revenue.  Q3 wholesale revenue was $116.5 million, -- relatively flat compared to Q2.  Retail and other revenue increased 1% year over year to $197.4 million in third quarter 2012. Retail ARPU for third quarter 2012 was $45.06, representing a decrease of $(1.99) year over year as compared to $47.05 in third quarter 2011 primarily due to lower equipment lease and activation revenue under the new no-contract offering.