Clearwire -- the company that actually provides the 4G data service for Sprint -- announced its third-quarter earnings today. Revenue was at $147 million -- up 114 percent over last year, and subscribers increased to 2.84 million -- a 402 percent increase year over year.

But it was the following statement that started to send us into a small tizzy:

"While we continue to exceed our subscriber and operational goals, we have not yet secured future funding and prudence dictates that we take appropriate cash conservation steps to reduce costs. We continue to pursue all options for future funding including debt, equity or a potential sale of excess spectrum or other assets, and we remain cautiously optimistic that we will resolve our short-term funding needs in the near future. We continue to believe that our unmatched spectrum portfolio and our all-IP based network will keep us extremely well positioned in the dynamic and burgeoning market for mobile data."

Whoa. Wait a second. Before anybody freaks out and worries about losing their 4G data on their Evos and Epics, remember that companies have to think ahead. Way ahead. And so they're cutting back now so they have enough cash for later. That's the way business works.

Sprint, for its part, told us that "our 4G plans remain unchanged" and followed up with this:

"Sprint’s CEO, Dan Hesse recently stated that Sprint has been in discussions with Clearwire regarding the financial status of its ongoing operations as well as Sprint potentially providing new financing. We expect those discussions to continue as we review alternatives with Clearwire. There is no assurance that the discussions will result in any transaction with Clearwire."

Is the ship sinking? Not hardly. Nobody's making a move for the life jackets. But everybody has their eyes trained on the horizon, which is the way it should be. [SEC via Phonescoop, TechFlash]


Reader comments

Clearwire cutting costs, so what does that mean for Sprint 4G?


*shrugs* If they go with a different tech Sprint would be required to give us new phones that are comparable. I dare them not to...they would have a class action lawsuit on their hands so fast if they didn't it wouldn't even be funny. Not remotely worried.

um, I am not very worried but they sure could slow deployment and/or slow improvement/capacity increases of deployed areas. 4G was announced in my city last month and it sure isn't working inside of 2/3 of the common office structures, and the expected 10% or so increases in 4g customers could harm capacity and user experience without continued investment

Why doesn't Sprint just buy Clearwire outright? It's scary to think their entire 4G strategy is dependent on a third-party that may or may not be financially stable.

because they are losing money and cant borrow more money to put into another business that is losing even more money...

Past summer Sprint was rumor to switch to lte and follow VZW so by by to fake 4g and hello to real stuf f not a hybrid mix. Bring it on.

smh...VZW's LTE is just as 'fake 4G' as Sprint's WiMAX is. Neither is more 'real stuff' than the other.

Why doesn't Google throw them a bone? They've got cash aplenty to spare and are early investors in Clearwire. With all the various companies and technologies that Google finances, you'd think they'd support one of their own. Especially one that is helping promote Android.

Those kinds of reports are for quarterly earnings repots that must be filed, also you have to have a reason to stock pile cash , ( not pay dividends to the investors) and to avoid the accumulated earnings tax. So for all the left brain folks just ignore the Post.

Look I'm on Sprint and I love my Evo; but I gotta say they make some of the worst, half ass decisions ever. This wouldn't happen on Verizon. Yes they charge too much and yes they come off like the devil but they usually have their shit together and that shows with lte...

I'm sorry, but- HUH?
What article did you read? What half-assed decisions? Why even bring up Verizon? LTE, really?

I'm sorry, but IMO I'm sure you just read about a couple of sentences (or skimmed) and just went directly to commenting. =\

Sprint is losing money every year (3rd quarter they lost 911 million), while Verizon and AT&T are making hundreds of millions each quarter.
My main question is since Sprint has a 54 percent stake in Clearwire, and they are losing money, can they afford to convert to LTE? Can they remain in business much longer?

This explains (maybe) why wimax isn't in more areas by now, money. Sprint has had money problems many times and they just don't give up. I have used them for ten years and wont leave. I hope its all smoke and no fire. I want to get 4g here someday so I can see my EVO the way it was intended. Either way its the best phone out there IMO even without wimax.

Good thing I left sprint after I bought my EVO which seemed good at the time but really is nothing to my N1 as of now.
Number one reason I left was the 4G.
So slow...

4G is a joke anyway, just another radio that kills battery and really isn't all that fast..not to mention barely anyone has it in their area.

I love my EVO but the extra 10$ a month for it is utter verizon-like BS... It's laughable how some people can say Verizon has their *hit together... LOLOLOL ... they charge for EVERYTHING.. wanna use this? BUy that!.. wanna use that? Buy this! Plus, verizon is Bing'n out their phones..come on

Anyway, I have only used 4g a little bit while in a 4G area, and really wasn't impressed at all.. it's really nothing more than a gimmick IMO

Not really 4g is fast 10xtimes faster then 3g and you can notice the difference when u get 4g signal. 65 cites and counting is a lot especially when its new technology and most people in live in these areas.

The extra 10 is not for just having 4g. The iphone originally had a much more expensive data plan then any other phone. The 10 fee is for unlimited 3g/4g access. Would you rather be capped to 5gb or pay additional 10 a mth and not worry about the metor running?

The Evo and Epic are data intensive devices and tax the network more than any other device because it has a 1ghz processor. They will both be faster on 3g and 4g then anyother device on Sprint plus they both are native for video chat which uses a lot more data.

You complain about coverage. How do you expect them to expand coverage if they dont have the money to do so. Consider the 10 fee access to unlimited data because it really is. Verizon att and tmo all have caps on there phones Sprint does not on the Evo or Epic

While I agree u were spot on about Verizon you are dead wrong about 4g far from a gimmick btw im getting 9.5mbs on Sprint Wimax 4g!

I have 3 Epics and an Evo and 4G is no way in real world conditions 10x faster. 4g doesn't ramp power to hold signal like 3g does, it seems simply to lower speed, including often slower than 3g.( Which is why in my tests in the same place my Epic with clearly worse reception always gets 10 to 20% slower 4G than our Evo)

The Evo and Epic are data intensive devices and tax the network more than any other device because it has a 1ghz processor.

LOL, WTF, this is a tech site, please don't say things that are laughable. Our 4G phones on 3g don't use any more than a touch pro 2 might. And the processor makes you use more data? LOL

As far as your getting 9.5mps, maybe in a sprint call center, but if you go inside the capitol of the United States, Sprints 4G is ALWAYS slower than ATT's 3G, as it it in most hotel conference centers etc.

I like Sprint, but lest face it, we 4G early adopters are stakeholders on a promise based on our belief/hope that Sprints current spotty and slow 4G, even in "65 cities" will improve dramatically soon. It has too or they will be take not the cleaners by Verizon very quickly.

I for one am not loving my 4G coverage anyways. It never seems to work reliably when I'm in-doors which makes it pretty much useless to me. I've just been living on wifi at home and 3g when I'm out.... no biggie here, except that pesky $10 I have to pay every month.

I just can't believe how terrible the 4g coverage is when you're inside a building. Works ok at my house but when I'm out shopping in stores I never seem to have good signal strength and my phone is constantly going from 3g to 4g which drains the crap out of my battery.