Clearwire Communications said March 29 it is officially open for business in the greater Houston area. The coverage area includes more than 1,900 square miles and more than 4 million people.
Regionally, service extends as far north as Conroe and as far northeast as Kingwood; as far west as Katy and southwest as Richmond/Rosenburg; as far south as Alvin and southeast as Clear Lake; and as far east as Baytown. Clearwire will also cover Lake Jackson.
Clearwire's WiMax 4G network will expand to numerous markets around the country, and services will be offered by different service providers depending on the market. The company previously indicated that some of its new 4G markets scheduled to launch in 2010 include New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Denver, Minneapolis and the San Francisco Bay Area. By the end of 2010, Clearwire's 4G network is expected to cover up to 120 million people in places such as Los Angeles, Miami, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.
"Clear is thrilled to bring to Houston residents, businesses and visitors an Internet experience similar to what they're used to having at home or the office, anywhere around town or on the go," John Smith, Clearwire general manager, Houston, said in a statement. "We're pleased to complete our Texas service launch with a valuable new category of Internet service designed to make people's lives more enjoyable and more productive."
The Clearwire customer experience is similar to that provided by WiFi, but without the short-range limitations of a traditional Internet hot spot. Clearwire uses a wireless 4G technology called WiMax, which provides service areas measured in miles, not feet.
Clearwire gives users average mobile download speeds of 3M to 6M bps with bursts over 10M bps.
Verizon and AT&T are developing their own 4G technology based on LTE.