Clearwire Chooses Cities For Mobile WiMax In 2009

Atlanta, Chicago, and Las Vegas are among eight cities slated to get the 4G broadband service this year.

W. David Gardner, Contributor

March 6, 2009

2 Min Read

Clearwire unveiled a new list and schedule of cities getting its mobile WiMax service in 2009, naming Atlanta; Las Vegas; Chicago; Charlotte, N.C.; Dallas/Fort Worth; Honolulu; Philadelphia; and Seattle. The company already offers mobile WiMax in Baltimore and Portland, Ore.

While the wide area network technology is expected to encounter vigorous competition from mobile phone service providers, particularly Verizon Wireless, next year, Clearwire indicated it will seek to leverage WiMax's advantage in rural markets where the service is expected to perform well. Chief executive Ben Wolff said the company plans to seek funding for rural markets through the federal government's stimulus plan.

After a bumpy two years crowned by Sprint Nextel merging its Xohm WiMax operation with Clearwire, the merged company is planning to eventually cover most of the United States with the mobile wireless technology.

"With a robust pipeline of cell sites under development, we are working to significantly extend our wireless 4G network to many more markets, giving us the ability to cover as many as 120 million people with true broadband mobility by the end of 2010," Wolff said in a statement Thursday as Clearwire reported its latest financial results. Urban areas slated for deployment of Clearwire's mobile WiMax technology in 2010 include Boston, Houston, New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington, D.C.

Clearwire said it plans this summer to launch a dual-mode 3G/4G modem that will give its subscribers access to a nationwide data network. With Sprint controlling the stock of Clearwire, the cell phone service provider can provide its CDMA 3G infrastructure to the company. "The modem," Clearwire said, "will be sold by Clearwire and Sprint and automatically switch between WiMax and Sprint's 3G network."

Clearwire noted that it expects to see availability by the end of the year of nearly 100 mobile WiMax devices that will be compatible with its network. In March, the company plans to launch for its 4G subscribers a personal hotspot that can be used with Wi-Fi products.

The company noted that it's "an early-stage company with a history of operating losses and we expect to continue to realize significant net losses for the foreseeable future."

Clearwire said it lost $118 million on $20 million in revenue in its fourth quarter.

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