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Clearwire Q4: revenues up, costs down, LTE expensive

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Things are looking up at Clearwire, its Q4 revenue came in just over Wall Street's estimates at $362 million, split between $198 million retail and $164 million wholesale -- with the latter figure up 20 percent over the last quarter. It pointed a finger at increased smartphone usage and slashed operating costs (spending only $82 million) as the reason for the bump. With this being Clearwire, it's still in the business doldrums, relying on handouts from Sprint to keep it going. It's planning to flog off around $300 million of debt to "qualified investors" as a way to ensure sufficient funding for the forthcoming LTE rollout. If you're interested in this sort of thing, you can read the full breakdown after the interval, presumably storming around pretending that you're Gordon Gekko.

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Clearwire Reports Selected Preliminary Fourth Quarter 2011 Results

BELLEVUE, Wash., Jan. 24, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Clearwire Corporation (Nasdaq:CLWR), a leading provider of 4G wireless broadband services in the U.S., today reported selected preliminary financial and operating results for fourth quarter 2011.

Record quarterly revenues of approximately $362 million are estimated for fourth quarter 2011, representing a more than doubling of revenues from the prior year's fourth quarter. Retail revenues are estimated to be approximately $198 million and wholesale revenues are estimated to be approximately $164 million for the period, representing 1% and 20% sequential growth, respectively, over third quarter 2011 retail and wholesale revenues.

Fourth quarter 2011 net wholesale subscriber additions are expected to total approximately 900,000, resulting in approximately 9.1 million ending wholesale subscribers, or 11% growth over third quarter 2011 ending wholesale subscribers. Combined with approximately 1.3 million retail subscribers at the end of the year, the company expects total subscribers at December 31, 2011 to be approximately 10.4 million, representing approximately 140% year over year growth. These results reflect 2.9% wholesale churn and 3.9% retail churn in fourth quarter 2011.

Fourth quarter 2011 aggregate usage by wholesale customers increased approximately 22% compared to third quarter 2011, driven primarily by growth in aggregate smartphone usage, which increased approximately 30% over the same period. Total 4G network usage by wholesale and retail customers increased 165% during 2011.

As a result of the growth of its subscriber base and increased network traffic, in conjunction with reductions in cash operating expenses, the Company estimates that fourth quarter 2011 Adjusted EBITDA is positive and improved more than 140% sequentially as compared to the Adjusted EBITDA loss reported in third quarter 2011.

The Company estimates that cash and cash equivalents and investments at December 31, 2011 were approximately $1.11 billion compared to $711 million at September 30, 2011. Excluding net proceeds from the issuance of additional shares of $716 million and payment of $237 million interest on debt in December, the Company estimates that cash utilized during fourth quarter 2011 was approximately $82 million.

The above amounts are subject to the finalization of the company's fourth quarter and annual 2011 results. The company plans to release full fourth quarter and annual 2011 financial results in the coming weeks.

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