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posted a second-quarter loss that was narrower than Wall Street estimates, and shares were higher as investors looked toward the company's WiMax merger deal.

The Kirkland, Wash., wireless broadband service provider said Thursday that it lost $199 million, or $1.21 a share, in the second quarter, ballooning from a loss of $118 million, or 72 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Excluding items totaling 23 cents, Clearwire said it had a second-quarter loss of 98 cents a share. On average, analysts expected the company to lose $1.01 a share excluding items, according to Thomson Reuters.

After falling 1.6% to $8.99 during Thursday's session, shares of Clearwire were up 2.5% in late trading to $9.21.

Revenue for the quarter jumped 5% to $58.5 million -- Wall Street had expected $54.2 million.

Looking ahead, Clearwire affirmed its previous outlook that revenue for 2008 should fall in the range of $205 million to $215 million. That falls short of the average analyst estimate of $234 million.

Clearwire said that consolidated net subscriber additions totaled only 18,000 in the second quarter, bringing the total number of subscribers to 461,000. That compares to year-ago net additions of 41,000 and 48,000, sequentially.

In the second quarter, consolidated average revenue per subscriber, or ARPU, was $39.28, an increase of $1.35 during the same period in 2007. On the downside, the churn rate -- which measures customer turnover -- swelled to 2.6% from 2% in the year-ago period.

Still, the $14.5 billion merger of

Sprint Nextel's

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and Clearwire's WiMax broadband was fresh on investors' minds. In May, Sprint and Clearwire said they will join assets and deploy the first nationwide mobile WiMax network, considered a fourth-generation wireless technology that features fast data transfers over long distances.

Sprint and Clearwire said they have received $3.2 billion in investments for the joint venture from

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"We are pleased with the progress toward a targeted fourth quarter closing for our pending combination of Clearwire with Sprint's 4G business to form a new, independent communications company," said Clearwire CEO Ben Wolff said in a statement. "The infusion of $3.2 billion in capital from our strategic investor group upon completion of the transaction will fuel our nationwide mobile WiMAX network deployment, which we believe will fundamentally transform the wireless communications landscape and the way all of us use the Internet."

In its own earnings report Wednesday, Sprint said the merger with Clearwire should close before the end of the year.