Clearwire shareholders to vote on merger Nov. 20

During Clearwire's third quarter earnings call with analysts this morning, CEO Ben Wolff said that shareholders will vote Nov. 20 on the whether or not to approve the firm's merger with Sprint's WiMAX business. Wolff says that the merger is still on track for a year-end close pending the shareholder vote and some other administrative items.

Wolff reiterated that once the merger closes the expected infusion of $3.2 billion in capital from Google, Intel, Comcast and others will give Clearwire the resources to launch new markets and covert its existing pre-WiMAX markets to mobile WiMAX. The company had third quarter service revenue of $60.8 million up from $41.3 million in third quarter 2007. The company also had a net loss of $166.6 million compared to a net loss of $328.6 million in the same quarter the previous year. Here's a rundown of the other key metrics:

Subscribers: At the end of third quarter Clearwire had 469,000 subscribers, up from 348,000 in third quarter 2007. However, the company only added 8,300 net new customers during the quarter. Wolff said the firm's growth flattened as the company prepares to move from pre-WiMAX to mobile WiMAX.

ARPU: Average revenue per user was $40.43, up from $37.41 in the prior year. Wolff said the ARPU increase was due to adjustments in pricing and premium plans.

Churn: Churn was 3 percent in third quarter up from 2.3 percent in the previous year and compared to 2.6 percent in second quarter 2008. Clearwire said the increase in churn was due to a reduction of sales and marketing and it expects this trend to continue because of the macroeconomic climate.

White space spectrum: Wolff said that the company may explore opportunities with white space spectrum, particularly in rural areas.

For more:
- see this press release

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