Clearwire Adds Just 12,000 Subscribers in Q2

Carl Ford : 4G: For Generations to Come
Carl Ford

Clearwire Adds Just 12,000 Subscribers in Q2

Highlights (or lowlights) from the Clearwire Aug. 11 earnings call (the press release is here):

-- Clearwire reports 12,000 net subscription adds for Q2, down from 25,000 for Q1. Ouch. Execs on the call say this number is good and signups are strong, but no getting around the fact that 12,000 is not a big number. Remember this is all mainly Portland, since Vegas/Atlanta didn't launch until end of quarter. The net adds includes losses from pre-WiMAX subscribers, which may be significant. But since Clearwire won't break out numbers, hard to tell what Portland growth really is.

-- Clearwire adds San Antonio, Austin to launch markets list for 2009. We'll publish the full list but they are saying 25 markets live by year end. (ed. note: here is the list of markets that will go live in 2009 from the press release:)
Atlanta; Baltimore; Boise; Chicago; Las Vegas; Philadelphia; Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro, NC; Honolulu and Maui, HI; Seattle and Bellingham, WA; Portland and Salem, OR; and Dallas/Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Austin, Abilene, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Killeen/Temple, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, Waco and Wichita Falls, Texas.

-- CEO Bill Morrow says that Q4 subscriber adds will surpass all other 2009 quarters combined -- there's a target to hit!

-- Loss for Q2 is $73.37 million, on revenue of $63.59 million.

-- Clearwire spent $251 million on capex in Q2, up from $112 million in Q1. That's just $363 million in a year where they have planned to spend $1.9 billion. So, lots of towers to pay for in other markets during the second half.

-- They will add 800 employees over the next six months... ready your resume!

-- Mike Sievert, chief communications officer, is on the call. No Scott Richardson. Marketing over engineering?

-- More on the subscriber numbers... Clearwire CFO David Sach had to audibly stop himself from saying something bad about Q2 numbers, weakly promising that subscriber count "is going to accelerate" for Q3 vs. Q2.

-- CEO Morrow says Clearwire probably won't break out specific 4G subscription numbers (something some of us have asked for before) probably until 2010 at the earliest. Until then apparently it is supposed to be up to us to guess exactly how many "old" pre-WiMAX subscribers are muddying the Clearwire financial reporting waters.

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