The first quarter of 2012 didn't end well for Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR). Total revenue of $322.6 million was down almost 11% over the previous quarter. That resulted in an operating loss of $421.9 million, a slight improvement only over the previous quarter. At least the $0.44 loss per share was still a big improvement over last year's first-quarter $0.93 loss.

The rate of net subscriber additions was down considerably. The previous quarter saw a net gain of 873,000 customers, but only a net gain of 586,000 for Q1. The company now has 11,000,000 total subscribers, up from 10,414,000 last quarter, and up from 6,105,000 a year ago.

The cost per gross additional subscriber improved a bit. CPGA is now $242, compared with the previous quarter's CPGA of $259. And the annual revenue per user figure has moved slightly in the right direction: now at $46.83, compared with last quarter's $46.69.

Clearwire's cash and cash equivalents position is down quite a bit over last quarter. It now has $310.1 million under its bed, compared with $891.9 million it had at the end of 2011, though short-term investments saw a raise.

Even though the numbers didn't paint a pretty picture, Clearwire CEO Erik Prusch voiced optimism:

"The compelling growth of wireless data is driving the need for more spectrum capacity and attracting new entrants to the market. Clearwire's high capacity LTE Advanced-ready network will sit at the intersection of these two trends."

Analysts seemed to agree and the stock moved up 5% after-hours.

A positive point to Clearwire's earnings showed that, for the first time, its operating activities gave the company net cash of $65.7 in the first quarter. This is the result of the new agreement the company has with Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S), which provided Clearwire with some cash payments.

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Fool contributor Dan Radovsky has no financial interest in the above-mentioned companies. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.