Hmmm, I think they're serious about this cost cutting thing. clwr has signed with Telech to outsource its customer support. Some 700 Clearwire employees will immediately switch companies, although Clearwire is keeping about 180 of them for the back office. Most of the company's 6M+ subscribers are wholesale through Sprint, and therefore won't notice of course. This follows Clearwire's move a couple of weeks ago to outsource its network operations to Ericsson, which similarly moved 700 employees off their books.
Last November before it began actively cutting staff, Clearwire had approximately 4,200 employees. By the end of the first quarter, they had reduced that by about 1000 to filings, so with two groups of 700 being moved to the books of other companies that leaves 1800 or so minus whatever other additional cost cutting has been done since. That's just a bit higher than their headcount at the end of 2008.
That doesn't bring their SG&A down entirely proportionally, as they still must pay those companies they outsourced to. It merely (hopefully) optimizes the costs of that part of their business. Yet they are clearly taking some [pick adjective depending on personal slant: bold, drastic, aggressive, desperate, decisive] action in an effort to turn their finances into a form that doesn't channel a pre-bubble dot com fiber buildout.
Meanwhile, a Bloomberg report says Clearwire has been taking the gloves off when it comes to signing up customers by bypassing credit checks in order to pump up those impressive subscriber gains they keep posting. The company denies it of course, but the pressures are such that at some level this sort of thing is bound to happen at one level or another. Should be interesting to see where the Q2 numbers come in, both in terms of subscribers and in terms of costs.
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