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UPDATE: Comcast, Clearwire, Sprint Announce Q4 WiMAX Markets

October 23, 2009 - News

The WiMAX roll-out by Clearwire Corp. and its investors continues with Clearwire, Comcast Corp. and Sprint-Nextel Corp. announcing plans for additional markets to launch in the fourth quarter.

The three will each launch commercial 4G service in Philadelphia in the next several weeks, with official launch events and retail store openings to follow.

In November, Clearwire, Comcast and Sprint will begin sales in Chicago, and all three providers will begin selling in Seattle/Tacoma area in early December.

Clearwire and Sprint will also launch 4G service in Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh, North Carolina; and Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth and San Antonio, Texas in November.

In early December, service will be available from both companies in Honolulu and Maui, Hawaii.

Sprint and Comcast, both Clearwire investors (Sprint owns a 51 percent stake) are both acting as MVNOs on the Clearwire network. The companies have said in the past that they are targeting different niches with WiMAX, making the market overlap less of a cannibalization threat. Clearwire’s CLEAR service is being marketed as a pervasive ISP and VoIP service. Sprint’s “Sprint 4G” service is positioned as the next generation of its existing 3G services, and Sprint offers a dual-mode 3G/4G modem. And Comcast is positioning its “High Speed 2Go” service as a data-only service that will allow its home broadband subscribers to take their Internet with them outside of the home, thus enriching its residential services bundles.

The announcements of the impending service launches were made on Thursday as a joint endeavor, which is a new approach. However, a Clearwire spokesperson told us that this should not be seen as a shift in go-to-market strategy, but rather an acknowledgment that the companies are all 4G on the CLEAR network. The services will operate and launch independently.

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