Clearwire slashes headcount by 15%

US Wimax operator Clearwire will cut 15% of staff and stop opening new retail stores as its seeks ways of raising fresh funds.
 
Clearwire, which has embarked on the world’s largest mobile Wimax rollout, posted a $139 million loss in the third quarter on revenue of $147 million.
 
Based in Kirkland, Washington state, the company has around 4,200 employees, putting the cuts at about 630 staff.
 
In order to reach cost savings of between $100 million and $200 million this year, it also plans to slash sales and marketing spending and delay the introduction of the Clear-branded smartphone.
 
Clearwire said it would consider asset sales, partnerships or fresh debt or equity issues to raise extra capital. It was in discussions with “major shareholders and other third parties” about fund-raising.
 
Its investors include Intel Capital, Comcast, Sprint, Google, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.
 
 
“We continue to pursue all options for future funding including debt, equity or a potential sale of excess spectrum or other assets, and we remain cautiously optimistic that we will resolve our short-term funding needs in the near future,” CEO Bill Morrow said in a statement.
 
He said while the operator had exceeded its subscriber and operational goals, “we have not yet secured future funding and prudence dictates that we take appropriate cash conservation steps to reduce costs.”
 
Michael Nelson, an analyst at Mizuho Securities, told Bloomberg the company may need to raise $1 billion next year and $4 billion by 2014.
 
Clearwire added 1.23 million subs in Q3 to take its total to 2.84 million. ARPU was $21.19, but the cost to sign up each new subscriber was $92. Its network is commercially available to 87 million people.

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