Sprint, Clearwire to Offer WiMax in November

Sprint will offer WiMax high-speed wireless services starting November in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The service, offered through a partnership with Clearwire, which is mostly owned by Sprint, will begin in New York on November 1, Los Angeles on December 1 and in San Francisco around the end of December.

The Overland Park, Kan.-based carrier will publicly market WiMax as its fourth-generation, or 4G, network, and use space on Clearwire’s network to provide the service.

The initial list of major cities in the U.S. were chosen because they are regarded as key battlegrounds for telecom companies, with a high concentration of affluent consumers who tend to want to buy the latest technology first.

New York and San Francisco are particularly difficult markets for wireless data services because of the high amount of high-tech gadget users that live in them. AT&T, the exclusive iPhone provider in the U.S., has had to invest heavily to fight criticism about its network performance in those cities.

The launches come as Verizon, the biggest U.S. mobile service, plans to roll out a high-speed upgrade to its network in 38 cities covering 110 million people by year end.

The rollout of WiMax has not been without its initial difficulties. Analysts say there have been tention between the management of both companies because they compete over the same customers, especially as Clearwire seeks to expand its network in the future. Three top Sprint executives recently resigned from Clearwire’s board.

Despite the tension, the companies are wasting no time launching WiMax in major U.S. cities starting November, especially as rival Verizon plans to roll out a high-speed upgrade to its network in 38 cities by year end.

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