An SEC filing from Clearwire indicates that the Bellevue-based broadband wireless provider may elect to delay its transition to a higher performance long-term evolution (LTE) network. The company has said that it plans to transfer about 5,000 of its WiMax sites, most in densely populated areas, to the new Time Division Duplex LTE network by June 2013.
However, in the latest filing Clearwire indicates that a delay may occur. The company, which boasts 1.3 million retail and 9.6 million wholesale subscribers, writes:
As previously disclosed, our plan contemplates the deployment of all of the Phase-one sites by the end of June 2013 in time to satisfy an LTE prepayment milestone under the terms of our agreements with Sprint. However, our agreements with Sprint also provide flexibility to modify the pace of our LTE deployment and remain eligible for the full amount of LTE prepayments from Sprint. As such, in order to better align our capital expenditures with the receipt of expected LTE revenues, we are currently evaluating our plans and may elect to delay a portion of our deployment schedule accordingly.
The success of our current plans will depend to a large extent on whether we succeed in the following areas: adding new wholesale partners with substantial offload data capacity needs and generating or exceeding the revenue levels we currently expect for that portion of our business; maintaining our retail base and revenues while continuing to realize the benefits from cost savings initiatives; deploying LTE technology on our network; and raising additional capital.
Clearwire had $1.3 billion in cash and cash equivalents at the end of June, enough capital to fuel the business for about a year. The company has said it may need to raise more capital in the future.
Meanwhile, Fierce Broadband Wireless reports that Comcast may ditch its six percent stake in Clearwire. That would follow a sale by Time Warner, which sold its 7.8 percent stake at a big loss last month.
Shares of Clearwire are down 41 percent in the past year, but traded up more than two percent in early trading Monday.