Clearwire is planning a massive launch of its 4G service in 10 of its pre-WiMAX markets. The launch, slated for Sept. 1, will occur in Boise, Idaho; Bellingham, Wash.; and eight separate Texas markets.
The upcoming launches are in relatively small markets where the company already has infrastructure in place, making it easier to upgrade its network to 4G.
The company plans to launch in major markets like Chicago and Dallas/Ft. Worth by the end of this year, but those cities lack Clearwire’s pre-WiMAX equipment and the lead time is expected to be considerably longer.
Clearwire has already launched mobile WiMAX in Atlanta, Baltimore, Las Vegas and Portland, Ore., and expects to spend between $1.5 billion and $1.9 billion this year to expand its network. The company plans to have its mobile WiMAX service in 80 markets covering up to 120 million people by the end of 2010.
Clearwire recently upgraded the upload speeds for its network in Portland, doubling it to as much as 1 mbps. Clearwire upload speeds had been as fast as 500 kbps prior to Saturday’s upgrade. Download speeds range between 3 to 6 mbps, with bursts over 10 mbps.
Overall, Clearwire backers have poured billions of dollars into the business in a bid to get a foothold in the emerging 4G market. Clearwire has been losing money as its tremendous expenditures outstrip sales growth, but some investors are still managing to benefit from the deal by reselling the mobile WiMAX service.
So far, Comcast and Sprint are offering the service under their own brands in select markets, including Atlanta and Portland. Time Warner Cable, which invested $500 million in the company, last week told investors that it would begin reselling the wireless service this fall in Dallas and Charlotte, N.C.
Clearwire will provide more information about its 2009 launches during its second-quarter financial release on Tuesday, Aug. 11.