Clearwire expands 4G but major cities still left out

Company adds cities to list of those getting the speedy wireless service, but New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington are still left out.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
2 min read

People living in some of the nation's biggest cities in the U.S. will have to wait a little longer to get 4G wireless broadband service from providers using the new Clearwire network.

Clearwire, which is building a nationwide 4G wireless network using a technology called WiMax, announced Wednesday that it will be adding 18 additional cities to the list of markets getting the speedy wireless service this summer. But major cities, such as New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. will still have to wait.

Previously, the company said it would offer 4G service starting this summer in Kansas City, Kan.; St. Louis; and Salt Lake City. Now it has added cities such as Nashville, Tenn.; Daytona, Orlando, and Tampa, Fla.; Rochester and Syracuse, N.Y.; Merced, Modesto, Stockton, and Visalia, Calif.; Wilmington, Del.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Eugene, Ore.; and Yakima and Tri-Cities, Wash.

Clearwire didn't provide an update on when it expects to get service to some of the nation's biggest cities where it's already said it will offer service in 2010. These cities include New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, D.C., Denver, Minneapolis, the San Francisco Bay Area, Miami, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh.

Clearwire's 4G WiMax service, currently the only 4G wireless service on the market, offers average download speeds between 3Mbps and 6Mbps, which are comparable with many DSL and cable modem services on the market. Clearwire and its investors, Comcast, and Sprint Nextel, have already been selling service in a total of 32 markets covering 41 million people. Services are offered by Clearwire and Sprint in each market as well as Comcast in select markets. By the end of 2010, Clearwire's 4G mobile broadband network is expected to be available to up to 120 million people across the U.S.

Clearwire will soon have stiff competition from other major wireless providers also deploying faster wireless networks. T-Mobile USA is deploying its HSPA+ network that offers theoretical speeds of 21Mbps in several cities. And Verizon Wireless is building its own 4G network using a technology called LTE. It expects to launch the service in 25 to 30 markets by the end of the year. It claims that the average download speeds it has seen in its test networks are between 6Mbps and 12Mbps.

Clearwire reports first quarter 2010 earnings after the market closes Wednesday.