Sprint's '4G' Shadow Network

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s "4G Now" launches will closely track Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR)'s WiMax market moves in the remainder of 2009, while Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) are being far more selective about services launched on the Clear network.

Clearwire said yesterday that it expects to launch the Clear mobile WiMax service in at least 25 markets by the end of the year. Sprint followed by announcing 17 more 4G Now deployments, which use Clearwire's network for wireless broadband service. (See Sprint Adds 17 WiMax Cities and Clearwire Promises Growth Spurt.)

Comcast's "HighSpeed2Go" offering and TWC's as yet unnamed service also piggy-back on the Clearwire network. As you will see from the table below, however, the cable companies have only announced a handful of markets between them so far:

Table 1: Clear Network Market Launch Plans for 2009
Market Clearwire Sprint Comcast TWC Clear Launch Date
Abilene, TX X X 01-Sep
Amarillo, TX X X 01-Sep
Atlanta, GA X X X Live
Austin, TX X X Q3/Q4
Baltimore, MD X X Live
Bellingham, WA X X 01-Sep
Boise, ID X X 01-Sep
Charlotte, NC X X X 01-Sep
Chicago, IL X X X Q3 soft launch
Corpus Christi, TX X X 01-Sep
Dallas Fort Worth, TX X X X Q3
Greensborough, NC X X 01-Sep
Honolulu, HI X X Q3/Q4
Killeen/Temple, TX X X 01-Sep
Las Vegas, NV X X Live
Maui, HI X X Q3/Q4
Milledgeville, GA X X 01-Sep
Philadelphia, PA X X X Q4
Portland, OR X X X Live
Raleigh, NC X X Q3/Q4
Salem, OR X X Q3/Q4
San Antonio, TX X X 01-Sep
Seattle, WA X X Q3/Q4
Waco, TX X X 01-Sep
Wichita Falls, TX X X O1-Sep
Sources: Clearwire, Sprint Nextel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Unstrung, Sidecut Reports

The table mostly relies on Clearwire's announced dates for its mobile WiMax launches. There may be other announcements coming, particularly from Comcast, which has said recently that it will track Clearwire's launches. "You can assume where they go, so will we," a spokesperson said in June. (See Comcast Maxes Out in Portland.) Clearwire and Sprint meanwhile plan to launch in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Boston, and more in 2010. (See WiMax's Bay Window.)

Clearwire, Comcast, and Sprint have also now all started to offer cards that allow users to roam between the WiMax network and Sprint's EV-DO 3G network. (See Clear to Roam Beyond Vegas.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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