Subscribers Up, Revenue Down for Clearwire in Q3

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Clearwire reported Thursday that it’s seen a 10 percent increase in subscribers over the past year.

The broadband provider ended the quarter on Sept. 30 with 10.5 million subscribers, up from 9.5 million a year ago; the bulk of those are wholesale subs (9.1 million), while the remainder are retail subs. Wholesale subscribers consist primarily of Sprint 3G/4G smartphone customers.

Sprint, which owns almost half of Clearwire, has agreed to sell 70 percent of its company to Japan-based SoftBank for $20 billion. Sprint has already stated that it wants to buy the rest of Clearwire, assuming the deal gets regulatory approval.

Clearwire’s revenue last quarter was down slightly year-over-year, to $314 million, primarily due to a drop in wholesale revenue. Retail and other revenue was up 1 percent in the past year to a little more than $197 million, but average revenue per user (ARPU) was down about $2, to $45.06, mostly due to lower equipment lease and activation revenue under the new, no-contract offering.

The company continues to expect total revenue of $1.20 to $1.30 billion for full-year 2012. The company expects 2012 Adjusted EBITDA loss of approximately $(150) to $(200) million, representing a $25 million improvement (at the midpoints) to previous guidance of $(175) to $(225) million.

Clearwire plans to have 2,000 LTE sites up and running by the end of June 2013 and expects to start receiving Sprint prepayment installments in June 2013.

“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.”

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