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Clearwire Corp., a wireless data network company mostly owned by Sprint Nextel Corp., said Thursday that its fourth-quarter net loss widened by 30 percent as its costs spiked.
But its revenue more than doubled as the company invested in its high-speed “4G” network and added more than 1.5 million new customers during the quarter. As a result, Clearwire’s subscriber base is more than six times what it was a year earlier.
Clearwire also said that it is close to reaching an agreement with Sprint over wholesale fees for its 4G service, which would boost revenue going forward.
The Kirkland-based company lost $128 million, or 81 cents per share, during the period ended Dec. 31. That compares with a year-earlier loss of $98.7 million, or 55 cents per share.
Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting a loss of 53 cents per share.
Revenue more than doubled to $180.7 million from $79.9 million. Analysts were looking for $195.7 million.
The stock rose 19 cents, or 4 percent, to $5.40 during after-hours trading Thursday, following the release of the earnings report. It had closed at $5.21, down 17 cents, or 3 percent.
The company has been locked in a dispute with Sprint over how much Sprint should pay for data service for phones that run on both 4G and current-generation 3G networks. Sprint has argued that it shouldn’t have to pay premium wholesale prices for 4G phones when some of these devices were registered in areas that only have slower-speed 3G service. The two companies entered arbitration in November.
“While nothing has yet been finalized, we believe an agreement with Sprint is imminent and should result in substantial additional revenues for Clearwire,” said Bill Morrow, the company’s CEO, who declined further comment.
During the quarter, the company added more than 1.5 million subscribers, bringing the total customer base to more than 4.4 million. That compares with 668,000 customers at the end of 2009.
The company’s expenses rose 63 percent as it leased more towers to expand its 4G network. In a conference call Thursday, the company’s management team said that expanding its 4G network to New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, in particular, proved more costly than expected.
As of Dec. 31, Clearwire’s 4G service is available in 71 U.S. markets, an area covering 119 million people. That’s more than three times the number of people the service reached a year earlier.
Clearwire added that average revenue per user rose, both among wholesale customers, such as Sprint, and retail customers.
For fiscal 2010, the company lost $487.4 million, or $2.46 per share, compared with a loss of $325.6 million, or $1.74 in 2009. Annual revenue rose to $556.8 million from $274.5 million.
The company said it expects to become profitable in 2012 before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. It also expects its subscriber base to reach 8.8 million during 2011, mostly thanks to its wholesale business.
Clearwire did not issue an earnings forecast.
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Proper Power & Energy, Inc. (OTC BB:PPWE.ob) a Tampa-based independent oil and gas exploration and production company, has announced that it has been approached by two independent financing groups and has submitted a $10 million private placement memorandum to each of them. These two groups are seeking domestic oil and gas production in light of the Middle East tensions.
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