We will update this as the call progresses: So far it’s a pretty strong performance from new CEO Bill Morrow — clearly he has done this kind of thing before.
Press release on numbers is out — Clearwire says it added 25,000 new subscribers over Q1. Won’t break out numbers but you have to think most are in Portland, where Clearwire launched its new mobile services Jan. 6. But the total does include all Clearwire’s pre-WiMax markets. By comparison, the company added just 5,000 new subs in Q4 before Portland was launched. So conservatively — 20,000 new customers in Portland in 3 months.
Clearwire adds three new execs — “G. Michael Sievert who will join as Chief Commercial Officer; Kevin Hart who will serve as Chief Information Officer; and Laurent Bentitou who will join as Chief People Officer,” according to the press release. Hart was former CIO at Level 3; Sievert was at Lenovo, Microsoft, AT&T.
Former Clearwire president Barry West is now “President — International.” Is this the equivalent of being exiled to Siberia? Not really a surprise since the Baltimore Xohm launch (West’s baby) did not go the way Clearwire wanted. With the rise in visibility of chief strategy officer Scott Richardson, Clearwire didn’t need another “vision guy” like West in the thick of things.
Morrow makes a strong point about how Clearwire is “not trying to unseat the wireless [voice] carriers.” I think this is smart — Clearwire needs to sell itself as a data provider, not a cell-phone replacement. Good luck; not an easy thing to do with the press, which loves headlines like “WiMax vs. LTE.” Just another challenge for a company that is still the underdog.
CEO Morrow: “We have 3 years to build a WiMax ecosystem” before any LTE competition reaches critical mass. Our opinion — Cisco news today will help Clearwire fight the perception that LTE is just around the corner and everyone should just wait. But fighting the AT&T and Verizon publicity machines is never easy. Just ask Vonage.
Clearwire says it will increase its workforce by 50 percent this year. Here comes the resume flood!
Call is over — lots of big questions still unanswered. No info on whether the Cisco deal involves an investment in Clearwire — or sweetheart equipment/financing deals — maybe that will be part of Q2 call. Also no news on when exactly Chicago will launch — a market we think is Clearwire’s big test for 2009. But overall a big, positive day for Clearwire, especially on the Cisco front. That’s a vote of confidence that will turn some heads in Silicon Valley and elsewhere.