Clearwire outsources support to TeleTech

The cost-cutting move will shift about 700 daily support workers to TeleTech

By , IDG News Service |  Mobile & Wireless, Clearwire, WiMax

Clearwire is outsourcing day-to-day customer care to TeleTech Holdings, shifting about 700 employees to the company, in its latest move to cut costs.

The national WiMax service provider has been trying to reduce its operating expenses over the past several months as it continues to post large losses. Last year Clearwire announced layoffs of 15% of its workforce, and last month it outsourced management of its network to Ericsson for the next seven years.

About 700 Clearwire customer care workers based in Las Vegas and in Milton, Florida, will become TeleTech employees, Clearwire said in a statement on Thursday. The company will keep about 180 employees across the two locations to handle back-office tasks such as operations and workforce management.

Clearwire said the change will increase efficiencies and reduce costs and will be transparent to subscribers. TeleTech is a global outsourcing company based in Englewood, Colorado.

At the end of this year's first quarter, Clearwire said it had 6.15 million subscribers. But most of Clearwire's customers buy service through partners such as Sprint Nextel and Comcast, which brings in less revenue than direct sales under the company's own Clear brand. Clearwire reported a net loss of $227 million for the first quarter and said it had enough cash and investments to continue operating for the next 12 months. It expects to achieve positive cash flow next year. Though first to market with a fast, next-generation mobile broadband service, Clearwire now faces growing competition from Verizon, T-Mobile and other carriers.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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