Comcast Rolling Out WiMax Service

The cable company will be reselling Clearwire's 4G service starting this week in Portland, Ore.
Comcast is rolling out its nationwide WiMax service, and Portland, Ore., will be the first city to get access to the cable company's 4G service Tuesday.

The company is dubbing its service High-Speed 2go, and it will be reselling WiMax from Clearwire's 4G network. Comcast is offering the service as a wireless data card for laptops or computers, and the "Metro" service will be a 4G-only device. The company's "Nationwide" service will be a dual-mode data stick that can switch between WiMax and Sprint's EV-DO 3G network.

"Innovation through mobility is one of many advances Comcast is providing consumers in the area of entertainment, information, and communications," said Cathy Avgiris, senior VP for Comcast's wireless services, in a statement. "In today's world, consumers don't want to be disconnected for even a minute and now Comcast provides wired and wireless access -- a combination consumers won't want to live without."

The move gives Comcast the ability to offer a "quadruple play" with home Internet, mobile broadband, television service, and home voice calling. This is becoming increasingly important for cable providers as companies like AT&T and Verizon encroach on their turf with IPTV services like U-Verse and FiOS. Portland will be the first market to get Comcast's WiMax service, but it is expected to be offered in cities like Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other major markets by the end of the year.

Comcast will be bundling the WiMax with home Internet service for $49.99 per month for the first year. This gives consumers 12 Mbps at home and up to 4 Mbps while on the go. For $69.99 a month, users can get the same services and nationwide 3G access. Existing customers with the "Triple Play" package can get 4G access for an additional $30 a month.

Comcast is a major investor in Clearwire and its WiMax service, and it is joined by the likes of Google, Intel, and Sprint Nextel. Clearwire is briskly deploying its 4G network around the country, and is hoping to cover 120 million by the end of 2010. WiMax has a time-to-market advantage over competing 4G networks based on Long-Term Evolution technologies, but companies like Verizon Wireless have laid out aggressive deployment plans for LTE networks.

LTE Vs. WiMax won't be the typical winner-take-all showdown. Learn what each brings to the race (registration required).