WiMAX Arriving in San Fran, L.A. and N.Y.C. By Year End


Clearwire (s clwr) today announced that it expects to rollout WiMAX service in three major U.S. cities prior to year-end, opening up the service to a combined population of more than 13 million people. Service for New York City is planned for Nov 1, while Los Angeles follows on Dec. 1 and San Francisco later that month. The 4G service will immediately compete with Verizon’s LTE (s vz) mobile broadband network, slated to appear in the same three major cities, and 35 additional ones, before the close of 2010.

The lighting up this trio of urban areas is happening at an interesting time for Clearwire, and not solely because of the competition the company will face from Verizon. Recent analyst reports estimate that Clearwire needs at least $2 billion in additional funds to continue its national 4G network rollout in 2011.

To that end, the company last month reportedly considered investments from T-Mobile, which is currently improving its 3G network with faster, HSPA+ speeds, but has not yet committed to a 4G strategy. And just last week, Bloomberg said that Clearwire was mulling the sale of some spectrum to raise between $2.5 and $5 billion, giving credence to our thought that the company can give up some spectrum to “self-fund” its long-term plans.

Regardless of next year’s potential financial crunch for the WiMAX providers, consumers — in particular, those in New York City and San Francisco — are poised to be the short-term winners. Data networks in both areas have struggled to keep pace with increasing demand from smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone, although services have improved due to infrastructure investments from AT&T (s t).

With the option of unlimited 4G service plans soon arriving from Clearwire and LTE services from Verizon, consumers at both ends of the U.S. can opt for fast data devices, even prepaid ones, that will help ease the crunch for mobile broadband.

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Watch out for ClearWire bandwidth throttle. If you exceed 8Gb in download, they will slow your connection to 25kbps until a new billing cycle starts. Do a search before you sign yourself into a 2 year contract.

Dream Police

Aren’t they headquartered in the Bay Area? After burning through billions over many years….just a couple more months? Haven’t they slowed down the progress of an industry (because it took a long time for competitors to realize it was bogus) and thus the productivity of our country? I do hope the Governor of California (now drowning as companies flee to better serviced regions) personally shoves his size 14 foot straight up this company full of snake oil salesmen while letting them know what he thinks of companies that hype bizarre and costly technologies that they know don’t work as promised.

As far as taking their “service” –realize they have _ALL_ of the customer service, billing and support problems that go with not turning a profit in a capital intensive business over a multi-year period and decide for yourself if you want in. Yes, there’s some people who take their service from the middle of a ghetto and then say online “look ma, 12Mbps!” (because the people around them don’t want or can’t afford to use the capacity built for that region). In most regions, people report inconsistent performance in the 512K-3Mbps range, sometimes spiking to a little under 6Mbps and their “stores” can barely stay connected –oh, and they’ve being sued over all this stuff.

With consistent 1-3Mbps 3G speeds now available, it’s not even worth looking at WiMax –not even for an extra $10/mo (the poorly written drivers that flip those combo 3G/Beceem devices back and forth will suck weeks of your life away too) and there will be nationwide HSPA+ in a few more days.

Roger Weeks

What about the South Bay? I could care less about coverage in San Francisco. There’s a lot more people between Palo Alto and Fremont and San Jose than there is in San Francisco…


I have a Clear WiFi Hotspot in Manhattan and there are alreday towers for 4G in operation here but the service has not been so very good. I was at a conference in SF a couple of weeks ago and I’m picking up 4G there as well but could not get a connection.

Kevin C. Tofel

Yup, it’s quite common for some towers to be lit for testing purposes before full market launches. When I was in San Fran for our Mobilize conference last month, a few HTC EVO 4G handsets were connecting to the WiMAX network, but results were hit or miss due since it was pre-launch.

Jeff at Clear

FYI If you visit CLEAR’s coverage maps you can see where exactly people can expect to be covered in LA and NY by toggling on the “future coverage” shading.


for me the excitement of clearwire WiMAX has far more to do with the unlimited usage plans than the speed. i have used a few different 3G mobile broadband solution and find they have plenty of speed for my usage but i need far more than bandwidth caps allow for.

i am also hopeful that when offered as unlimited wimax will be a competitor against cable and DSL hopefully driving down the price of those services.

Rebekah Brown

Digital technology is being rationed out to consumers in the U.S. just as telephone technology was by AT&T, SBC, and the other large companies.

Interestingly enough, we continue to wait for the next big thing, paying willingly to have it first.

Still interesting to watch, frustrating to have to wait.

Joe Garland

I came upon a “Clear” retail store at 94th and Broadway on Friday. Small portable box, 150 foot radius, VoIP in November, low intro price.

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