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Clearwire Corporation (CLWR)

Q4 2009 Earnings Call

February 24, 2010 8:30 am ET


Paul Blalock - Vice President, Investor Relations

William T. Morrow - Chief Executive Officer

Erik E. Prusch - Chief Financial Officer

G. Michael Sievert - Chief Commercial Officer

John Saw – Chief Technology Officer


John Hodulik - UBS

Simon Flannery - Morgan Stanley

Michael Nelson – Soleil Securities

Phil Cusick - Macquarie

Bob Kricheff – Credit Suisse

Eric Malek – Raymond James

Michael Funk – Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

Kevin Rowe - Rowe Equity Research



Welcome to the fourth quarter 2009 Clearwire Corporation earnings conference call. (Operator Instructions) I would now like to turn it to your host for today, Mr. Paul Blalock, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please proceed, Sir.

Paul Blalock

Thank you. Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I would like to welcome you to our fourth quarter 2009 financial results conference call. With me today are Bill Morrow, Chief Executive Officer and Erik Prusch, Chief Financial Officer, who will discuss Clearwire’s fourth quarter and full-year 2009 results. In addition, Michael Sievert, Chief Commercial Officer and John Saw, Chief Technology Officer and well as Hope Cochrane, Senior Vice President and Treasurer will join us for Q&A.

As a reminder, today’s call is being webcast live on the Clearwire Investor Relations website and will be archived on that site and available for replay shortly after we conclude. Hopefully you have all had an opportunity to read the earnings release we issued early this morning which provides detailed financial information on Clearwire Corporation’s 2009 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 earnings 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 2010 and subsequent periods, subscriber growth, network development and market launch plans, strategic plans and objectives and projected liquidity. 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.

I am very pleased to be here. I look forward to working with you. I truly believe that Clearwire is in the right place at the right time with the best mix of resources required to make the future a very positive experience for our customers and investors. I will now turn the call over to Bill Morrow.

William Morrow

Thank you, Paul. Good morning everyone. As always we appreciate the interest you have in our company and also for taking the time this morning to hear how we wrapped up last year.

2009 was monumental for us in reaching key milestones. We saw our vision become a reality. Our network build last year was among the fastest ever achieved in a single year. We now operate the largest 4G network in the country with a spectrum position and technological advantage which we believe is superior to any other U.S. mobile carrier. The timing could not be better.

Numerous studies continue to reinforce that the demand for mobile data is accelerating and the existing 3G technology and spectrum is insufficient to handle the growth. We realize being first to market is valuable and therefore execution on our business plan is key to our success. We believe our results for last year both demonstrate the validity of our plan and we are able to execute accordingly. Whether it is our 45% year-over-year customer growth reaching 688,000 subscribers or our 19% increase in revenue or our ability to raise $4.3 billion it is the facts in our past and our belief in our future that makes us more determined and confident than ever.

To give you the same confidence, Erik is going to share some details first on how we delivered on our build plans. He will then go into our strong subscriber and revenue growth and then finally he will wrap up with where we ended our financial metrics. I will then come back and follow-up with the opportunities we see for the remainder of this year and beyond.

With that, Erik?

Erik Prusch

Thank you Bill. I am pleased to report that Clearwire’s fourth quarter and full-year 2009 results demonstrate solid financial performance. In the fourth quarter we launched a majority of our 4G markets, added significant funding for the network build out and experienced strong growth in the 4G subscriber base late in the year.

My comments today will be directed to a comparison of 2009 actual results with pro forma 2008 results as we believe these represent the most meaningful comparisons.

Our 4G network coverage exceeded our year-end objectives by reaching more than 34 million people. As most of you know we started 2009 with just one launched 4G market and ended the year with 27. When combined with our pre-4G markets we ended last year covering 44.7 million people, 145% increase year-over-year.

In the fourth quarter alone we launched 4G in 13 markets including some of the nation’s largest cities such as Chicago, Dallas and Philadelphia just to name a few. Awareness of the Clearwire brand is steadily rising in the markets we serve and we believe Clear is rapidly becoming recognized as a radically new kind of internet experience. We continue to listen to our customers in our previously launched markets so that we can refine our messaging, our site placement, our network density and our commercial offers; all of which becomes new criteria in our subsequent launches across the nation.

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