Much of Clearwire's (NASDAQ:CLWR) success is based on its ability to attract and maintain wholesale partners that will resell mobile broadband services using its WiMAX network. The fact that many of those wholesale partners are also strategic investors in Clearwire makes the task of overseeing these partnerships all the more daunting. As the president of strategic partnerships and wholesale, Teresa Elder must understand the intricacies of Clearwire's IP-based WiMAX network and also navigate the complexities of the cable industry, the cellular industry and any other industry that Clearwire recruits to be part of its wholesale partner agenda.
Elder's background in wireless and cable helped pave the way for her to step into this role. Elder served as president of the West division of AT&T Broadband (which is now part of Comcast), where she was responsible for more than 7 million customers and $4 billion in revenue. She also held executive positions at MediaOne Group and AirTouch, which is now part of Verizon Wireless. Most recently Elder was the CEO of Vodafone, Ireland, a subsidiary of Vodafone Group, until she was recruited to join Clearwire by fellow Vodafone alumni Bill Morrow, now CEO of Clearwire.
In an interview with FierceWireless earlier this year, Elder said that Clearwire doesn't have a certain number of wholesale partners in mind. Instead the company is looking for the right mix of partners, those that can bring the type of usage and the number of subscribers that Clearwire wants to ride on its network. Clearly finding that mix of partners and keeping them happy is going to be critical to Clearwire's (and Elder's) long-term success.