Continuing to expand and adjust its business, Clearwire saw sales and subscriber numbers grow in the first quarter, but its loss widened...

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Continuing to expand and adjust its business, Clearwire saw sales and subscriber numbers grow in the first quarter, but its loss widened more than expected.

The Kirkland company, a leader in providing 4G wireless broadband services through WiMax technology, reported sales of $242 million, more than double the $106.7 million recorded in the first quarter of 2010.

During the latest quarter, which ended March 31, the company had a loss of $227 million, or 93 cents a share, compared with a loss of $94.1 million, or 47 cents a share, the year before. Analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance had expected a loss of 52 cents a share.

The losses included $202 million in write-downs from “abandonment and impairment of network and other assets,” including $31.1 million for scrapping plans connected with building out its network. The write-downs also resulted from termination of tower leases and a determination that some network assets and spectrum were impaired.

Despite the bottom-line numbers, Clearwire reported it expanded its subscriber count by 1.8 million — 1.6 million wholesale and 155,000 retail subscribers. That brings the total nationwide to 6.15 million subscribers, compared with 971,000 a year ago.

Looking ahead, the company, which is more than 50 percent owned by Sprint Nextel, expects subscriber numbers to grow to 9.5 million by the end of this year, up from the 8.8 million it projected in February.

Interim Chief Executive John Stanton said in a statement that the company is expecting to improve financial performance in 2012 by executing agreements it has made with Sprint, continuing to expand the subscriber base, making more revenue from its wholesale business and lowering operating costs.

The company is looking at wholesale growth as a key.

“Looking ahead, we expect to work closely with Sprint and all of our other wholesale partners to expand our 4G leadership and capitalize on our rich spectrum holdings,” Chief Operating Officer Erik Prusch said in the statement. He said Clearwire’s network has had a 40 percent increase in usage.