Sprint, Clearwire, Time Warner to Bring WiMax 4G to NYC

Sprint, Clearwire and Time Warner Cable together announced that they'll each offer their own branded WiMax 4G service in New York over Clearwire's growing WiMax network.

Sprint, Clearwire and Time Warner Cable are planning to pick up the pace for New Yorkers. In an Oct. 18 announcement, the three announced plans to launch 4G mobile Internet services "later this year" in the Big Apple, each under its own 4G brand.

Each service, however, will be based on Clearwire's WiMax technology - a competitor to the LTE (long-term evolution) technology favored by Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

The Clearwire brand, Clear, is a dual-mode 3G/4G service, meaning it reverts to the former where the latter is unavailable. The service is now live in some parts of New York. While equipment pricing varies, the unlimited service is $35 for the first two months and $55 a month for the remainder of the two-year contract. There are also Clear packages available that include service and the device, whether a USB modem or a Series G modem for the home.

Go the Sprint 4G Service route instead and you'll get access to Sprint's line of 3G/4G handsets-which for now means the HTC Evo 4G and the Samsung Epic 4G-and USB modems. Sprint has also confirmed that its 4G support in New York will go live Nov. 1. Pricing plans are available on the Sprint site. Want to take it for a spin? If you've got a 3G/4G model and existing Mobile Broadband Connection plan, the carrier offers a 24 Hour 4G Day Pass for $9.99. And while it puts a 5GB cap on its 3G network offering, on the 4G network it offers "all you can stream, browse, e-mail, chat, watch and game."

Time Warner Cable Mobile Internet service will include nationwide 3G service and 4G coverage in participating markets, and requires a subscription to at least one other Time Warner Cable service. As with the others, 3G network speeds are said to average 300 to 1400 K bps for downloads and 350 to 500 K bps for uploads, while 4G speeds are up to 6 M bps, with peak downloads up to 10 M bps.

The service is available with a two-year agreement, in which case the modem is discounted and activation is free, or without an agreement, in which case activation is $35 and the modem is full price.

The New York deployment will bring the number of Clearwire-covered U.S. markets to 57, a figure poised to continue climbing. By the end of 2010, Denver, Miami, Cincinnati and Cleveland are scheduled to receive coverage, and in a separate Oct. 18 statement, Sprint and Clearwire announced that on Dec. 1, Los Angeles and San Francisco will get the treatment as well.

Such deployments don't come cheap, however. Analysts estimate that the fourth-quarter build-out of the network will run approximately $2 billion. To help it foot the bill, Clearwire has announced that it will auction off a portion of its considerable spectrum holdings, which according to Bloomberg News has attracted the interest of AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom and cable operators Cablevision and Time Warner.

It's been speculated that the auction is also related to the recent resignation of Sprint CEO Dan Hesse from the Clearwire Board of Directors.