Sprint to Extend '4G' in Clearwire Markets

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) has unveiled a "4G" launch plan for 2009 and 2010 that tracks partner Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR)'s future WiMax rollouts, but Sprint is promising a number of new devices for use on the mobile broadband network as part of its offering. (See Sprint Expands WiMax Network.)

The CDMA carrier has already launched the $80 U300 CDMA/WiMax modem card for users of the WiMax network in Baltimore. The operator now says it will offer "several new devices" in 2009 and 2010, including "a single-mode 4G data card, embedded laptops, a small-office-home-office broadband modem and a tri-mode phone." (See Sprint Lets WiMax Users Escape From Baltimore.)

A Sprint spokeswoman tells Unstrung that the new phone will support WiMax, EV-DO, and WiFi. "We haven't announced specific timing or any more details other than to say we expect to offer a 4G phone on our road map for 2009-2010," she says in an email reply to questions.

The Sprint launches closely follow Clearwire's plans for the next few years. "This list is based on Clearwire deployments and our deployments will continue this way," says the Sprint spokeswoman.

Markets to be launched in 2009 include Atlanta, Honolulu, Charlotte, Las Vegas, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Portland, Fort Worth, and Seattle. Sprint expects Boston, Houston, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., among others to be launched in 2010. (See Clearwire Preps $1.5B Deployment in '09 and Clearwire Hiring in Atlanta & Vegas.)

Sprint isn't offering any details on what markets will go live next. Clearwire's Portland market is up and running now, however, and Atlanta, Las Vegas, or Seattle are expected to be among the next markets launched.

But the Sprint spokeswoman does say that Sprint may launch more markets than it is currently talking about so far. "The list in the release isn't necessarily inclusive of everything for 2009 and 2010," she writes.

Sprint works as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) on the "Clear" network. Clearwire is developing at least some of the MVNO software platform to handle Sprint and others on the WiMax network in-house through its IntraISP subsidiary. (See Dual Jewel?)

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) said earlier this month that it also plans to start reselling Clearwire services in Portland, Ore., this summer. (See WiMax Femtos: The Comcast Question.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:03:57 PM
re: Sprint to Extend '4G' in Clearwire Markets

Well, they're essentaily waiting for Clearwire now, is it worth expending that much effort when there are only two markets up and running, I would expect them to start getting more serious at the end of the year, y'know?


menexis 12/5/2012 | 4:03:57 PM
re: Sprint to Extend '4G' in Clearwire Markets

Sprint has been very slow to rollout the 4G network in a timly manner. I heard from a friend of mine that they are actually behind schedule.

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