Clearwire's WiMax Hits Philadelphia Market

Clearwire Communications continues it aggressive national WiMax rollout with a Philadelphia debut. The rollout is part of Clearwire's plan to bring wireless 4G service to 80 markets covering up to 120 million people by the end of 2010.

Clearwire Communications announced Nov. 5 it has extended service for its WiMax 4G wireless service to Philadelphia. Clearwire, which markets its service as Clear, said the Philadelphia service area covers 1,000 square miles and approximately 3.6 million people in the market.

Regionally, service extends as far north as Bucks County, south to the Delaware state line below the Philadelphia airport, east to Cherry Hill, N.J., and west to the Phoenixville and Malvern areas.

By the end of this year, Clearwire's 4G network is expected to be available in more than 25 markets covering more than 30 million people in places such as Atlanta and Milledgeville, Ga.; Baltimore; Boise; Chicago; Las Vegas; Philadelphia; Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro, N.C.; Honolulu and Maui, Hi.; Seattle and Bellingham, Wash.; Portland; and Dallas/Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Austin, Abilene, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Killeen/Temple, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, Waco and Wichita Falls, Texas.

Some of the additional markets planned to launch in 2010 include New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Houston and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Clearwire and Sprint Nextel are the only two U.S. carriers betting on WiMax technology to deliver 4G wireless broadband. Verizon and AT&T, the nation's two largest carriers, are betting on a rival technology called LTE for their 4G networks. Both WiMax and LTE allow for the delivery of last-mile wireless broadband access, promising faster download speeds than current cellular networks.

Sprint Nextel opened the original U.S. WiMax market in Baltimore last year. Following a merger that saw Sprint turn over its entire 2.5GHz spectrum holdings and its WiMax-related assets, including its Xohm division, to Clearwire, the newly branded Clear Jan. 6 rolled out a WiMax network in Portland, Ore.

As part of the merger deal, Clearwire also brought in $3.2 billion in WiMax investments from Comcast, Intel, Time Warner Cable, Google and Bright House Networks. Comcast, Intel and Google have already taken write downs on their WiMax investment.