Report: Clearwire ending WiMAX retail strategy

Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) is reportedly ending its retail expansion to conserve cash and enable it to focus on building out its mobile WiMAX network.

According to Bloomberg, Clearwire, which wholesales services to its majority owner Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and cable partners Time Warner and Comcast, will continue operating its 140 existing retail stores for the time being.

The move isn't a total surprise given the fact that Clearwire suspended retail operations in new markets such as Denver and Miami. In addition, it's retail strategy has created tension with Sprint since they were competing for the same customers. Clearwire's partners have also been critical of the operator's slower rollout strategy in larger markets, especially now that Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) is aggressively introducing LTE across the U.S.

Clearwire's cash woes are well known. The operator has raised $1.325 billion in bonds and exchangeable notes but still needs additional capital to roll out more markets. Clearwire has cash to last through the end of 2011. The company is reportedly nearing a deal with T-Mobile USA to sell some of its spectrum assets.

Clearwire, which releases fourth-quarter results Feb. 17, isn't commenting on the report.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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