Clearwire announced fourth quarter and total year 2007 results today, ending the year with 394K subscribers. Clearwire grew their subscriber base by 91% over comparable numbers from year end 2006 and added 47K subs in the fourth quarter. Clearwire is now in 50 markets (including 4 international markets) and covers 16.3 million people. Clearwire generated $151 million in revenue for all of 2007 and ended the year with a $289 million loss. They attributed the loss to expanding sales and marketing costs as they try to expand penetration in existing markets and launch new markets. They launched in Charlotte, NC and Rochester, NY during the fourth quarter. Some metrics of note include:
- ARPU for 2007 was $36.81, an increase of 5% versus the 2006 full-year ARPU of $35.06 for 2006
- Churn increased slightly in 2007 to 2.1% from 1.9% in 2006
- CAPEX was $361.9 million in 2007, versus $191.7 million in 2006
- Covered POPs increased 70% during 2007
Clearwire’s scenario garners great interest from those of us who cover the competitive landscape. They are one of the few companies who are actively executing a competitive play on a fairly nationwide scale, using pre-WiMAX (which will eventually evolve to true WiMAX). They are somewhat of an indicator of the competitive implications that WiMAX and other 4G technologies can bring to the marketplace. Clearwire is far from profitable, and its long term prospects are questionable unless they successfully negotiate a business relationship with a partner who brings nationwide scale. All the talk is that Sprint/Xohm will be that partner (with funding Intel and others). You can’t help but question whether that makes sense given Sprint’s challenges these days. Unfortunately for Clearwire, Sprint may be there only option. The same holds true for WiMAX in general, because should both Sprint and Clearwire falter, WiMAX as a viable technology in North America would be in grave danger.