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Clearwire to bring WiMax to 10 more markets

Company will add 10 WiMax markets starting September 1 in its effort to blanket the U.S. with 4G wireless broadband service.

Clearwire, which is using Sprint Nextel's 2.5GHz spectrum to build a nationwide 4G wireless network, announced Monday 10 more markets that will get the company's Clear WiMax wireless broadband services starting September 1.

Eight of the newly announced cities are in Texas: Abilene, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, Killeen/Temple, Waco, and Wichita Falls. The other two markets are Boise, Idaho, and Bellingham, Wash.

These 10 markets will join four other officially launched WiMax markets: Atlanta, Baltimore, Las Vegas, and Portland, Ore.

Some of the additional markets planned to launch in 2009 include Chicago, Charlotte, N.C., Dallas/Ft. Worth, Honolulu, Philadelphia, and Seattle.

Clearwire says it's on track to launch 80 markets by the end of 2010. In 2010, it plans to roll out service in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Houston, and the San Francisco Bay Area among others.

It's important for Clearwire to launch more markets, especially in major cities where its joint venture partners can also resell the service. Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks have each invested in Clearwire, along with Google and Intel. Altogether the companies pitched in $3.2 billion. Comcast and Time Warner Cable have already announced plans to start reselling the WiMax service in areas where they offer cable service. These cable companies plan to bundle the 4G wireless broadband service with their existing high-speed broadband services.

Sprint Nextel, another major Clearwire partner, is also reselling the service combined with its 3G wireless service in some markets, such as Baltimore.

Clearwire uses a technology called WiMax, which offers faster speeds than current 3G wireless technologies, but offers wider coverage than other high-speed wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi. Clearwire claims that it can provide up to 4 megabits per second for downloads and 500 kilobits per second for uploading, which is more than double what consumers can expect using a 3G wireless connection.

The Clear WiMax service from Clearwire starts at $20 per month for in-home wireless broadband. And its mobile Internet plans start at $40 per month. Customers can also get a day pass for $10. The company also allows customers to add voice service to their in-home package for $25 per month.