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Clearwire Corporation (CLWR)

Q4 2008 Earnings Call Transcript

March 5, 2009 4:30 pm ET


Mary Ekman – VP, IR

Ben Wolff – CEO

Perry Satterlee – COO

David Sach – CFO


Rick Prentiss – Raymond James

Simon Flannery – Morgan Stanley

Eric Kainer – ThinkEquity

Jonathan Atkins – RBC Capital Markets



Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the fourth quarter 2008 Clearwire Corporation earnings conference call. My name is Stacy and I will be your conference moderator for today. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. We will be facilitating a question-and-answer session towards the end of this conference. (Operator instructions) As a reminder this conference is being recorded for replay purposes.

I would now like to turn the presentation over to your host for today's call, Ms. Mary Ekman. Please proceed.

Mary Ekman

Thank you, Stacy. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'm Mary, Ekman, Vice President, Investor Relations with Clearwire, and I would like to welcome you today to our fourth quarter 2008 financial results conference call.

With me today are Ben Wolff, Chief Executive Officer, Perry Satterlee, Chief Operating Officer, David Sach, our new Chief Financial Officer, Barry West, President and Chief Architect, John Saw, Chief Technology Officer, and Hope Cochran, Senior Vice President, Finance and Treasurer.

During today’s call Ben will review Clearwire's results and accomplishments as well as our network expansion plans. Perry will discuss our WiMAX market progress as well as operating metrics for the quarter, and David will share his initial perspective on the business, highlight Q4 financial results and provide Clearwire's business outlook for 2009. Following our prepared remarks, we will open the lines for your questions.

This afternoon's call is scheduled to last approximately 45 minutes including Q and A. As a reminder to all listeners today's call is being webcast live on the Clearwire Investor Relations Web site and will be archived on that site and available for replay shortly after we conclude.

Hopefully you've all had an opportunity to read the earnings release we issued this afternoon which provides detailed financial information on Clearwire Corporation's 2008 fourth quarter results. A reconciliation of pro forma financial information and any non-GAAP financial measures discussed on this call can also be found in our press release.

Today's call may contain forward-looking statements reflecting management's beliefs and assumptions concerning future events and trends in or expectations regarding financial results. Forward-looking statements include among other things, our future financial and operating performance and financial condition, including projections and targets for 2009 and subsequent periods, subscriber growth, network development, and market launch plans, strategic plans and objectives and the need for additional financing.

These forward-looking statements are all based on currently available operating financial and competitive information and are subject to various risks and uncertainties. Listeners are cautioned not to put undue reliance on any forward-looking statements as they are not a guarantee of future performance.

Please refer to our press release and our filings with the SEC for more information concerning risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. The company assumes no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements.

At this time I would like to turn the call over to Ben Wolff.

Ben Wolff

Thank you, Mary. Good afternoon, everyone. I will begin by spending a few minutes reviewing some highlights from 2008. Next I will offer some preliminary observations following our launch of Clear in Portland, Oregon, and I will conclude my comments by outlining our expansion plans over the next two years and then I will turn the call over to Perry and David who will put a little more meat on the bones on each of these topics.

A little over a year ago we discussed with you Clearwire's priorities for 2008. Those priorities included, one, finding a way to collaborate with Sprint to build out our 4G network, two, raising additional capital to fund our network expansion, three, turning our domestic markets EBITDA positive as a group, and four, completing our first mobile WiMAX networks.

We are, of course, pleased to have achieved each of these objectives during 2008. As a result of our combination with Sprint's 4G business unit Clearwire now holds a nationwide spectrum portfolio that includes many times more spectrum that is available for 4G services than that of any other wireless carrier. In our business, more spectrum means more capacity and greater speeds which equals more opportunity.

In addition to the robust spectrum position, our transaction with Sprint enables us to offer our customers the ability to roam on Sprint's nationwide 3G network and gives us access to Sprint's network infrastructure and ways that we believe can speed our time to market and reduce our costs.

In other words, we believe that we have the best of both worlds. The advantages that come from being associated with an incumbent nationwide carrier coupled with the fact that we are autonomous and singularly focused on the deployment of one of the world's most capable next generation wireless networks.

We also raised $3.2 billion of new equity in a price of $17 per share. Perhaps as important as the amount that we raised is the fact that many of our investors in this financing round have a significant strategic interest in Clearwire success including Comcast, Intel, Time Warner, Google, and Bright House Networks, each of whom bring significant strategic value to Clearwire.

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