Sprint’s WiMAX Rollout

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Sprint made it official today, announcing the next WiMAX markets in their national roll out. Sprint offers Mobile WiMAX service today in Baltimore and Portland, Oregon with average downlink speeds of 2-4 Mbps.

Sprint plans to deploy Sprint 4G service in the following markets in 2009:

  • Atlanta
  • Charlotte
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Fort Worth
  • Honolulu
  • Las Vegas
  • Philadelphia
  • Seattle

Sprint also expects to launch service in multiple markets in 2010 including Boston, Houston, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Sprint was the first wireless carrier to offer access to both 3G and 4G networks on one device – the 3G/4G USB Modem U300. Sprint has several new 4G devices planned for 2009 and 2010, including a single-mode 4G data card, embedded laptops, a small-office-home-office broadband modem and a tri-mode phone. Those PCI Express Mini and Half-Mini WiMAX cards seem to be in short supply. What’s up with that?

Clearwire will soon leverage its MVNO relationships with Comcast to add wireless broadband. Apparently, voice-enabled WiMAX handsets, such as those offered by Samsung (above) and HTC are also in the picture this year (although I haven’t seen them in Portland, yet).

I’ve been using Clear’s 3 Mbps residential WiMAX service since December 1, 2008, and have found it to be rock solid, delivering the claimed unlimited 3Mbps reliably for $30/month (plus $5/mo modem rental). I’ve been waiting for Acer’s latest Aspire One which features built-in WiMAX, an 11.6-inch screen, full size keyboard, an Intel Z530 Atom CPU and 8 hour battery life.

The thing about Mobile WiMAX is that it’s not for travelers. Once you get out of your home WiMAX territory, you fall back to Sprint’s 3G. Mobile WiMAX has 4 times the speed at almost half the cost, but at the cost of availability. That means two mobile accounts, not one.

Sprint is moving into wholesale. It’s talking with companies such as GPS maker Garmin, Eastman Kodak and SanDisk, about delivering wireless Internet service for their products, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Ford, for example, is putting computers in some 2009 vehicles that will use Sprint’s wireless network, and Amazon’s Kindle uses Sprint’s EVDO network. Cable operators Comcast and Time-Warner will resell Sprint’s Mobile WiMAX services.

While still a small market, wholesale services are a critical part of Sprint’s future, says Chief Executive Dan Hesse. “We’ll get the lion’s share of new products that need a cellular connection.”

Cablevision’s Optimum Wi-Fi service is rekindling interest in municipal WiFi applications among other large service providers, such as Comcast,” said Ben Kwan, analyst for wireless LAN research at Dell’Oro Group. WiMAX lets Comcast do mobile voice. It eliminates the search for WiFi hotspots (it’s everywhere). But nationwide coverage is very limited.

Of course, LTE coverage is even more limited. It’s not available anywhere.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Comcast: Mobile WiMAX this Summer in Portland, Cablevision WiFi: Subs Up 70%, WiMAX: Passive/Aggresive?, Clearwire Portland Launch: Jan 6th, Clearwire in Portland, Clearwire: Let’s be “Clear”, Green Light for New Clearwire, iPCS Withdraws Injuction Against Sprint WiMAX, Clearwire: Show Us the Money, Xohm Marks the Spot, Chicago Xohmed Next?, WiMAX Doomed? Not., Mobile WiMAX: Fast, Cheap and Out of Control?, Mobile WiMAX Cooking- But Still in the Kitchen, WiMAX Roundup, Australia Unwired, Australian Blowup, BT’s European WiMAX Plan, Backhaul Delays Xohm Rollout, Hesse on WiMAX, Sprint’s WiMAX Rollout?, Sprint-Clearwire Deal Dead, Sprint Considering WiMAX Spinoff?, Sprint Forces Forsee Out, WiMAX Demoed on Chicago River, The Launch, ICO Wants Its Mobile TV – via DVB-SH, Google Apps for Clearwire, Sprint WiMAX: It’s Called “Xohm”, Xohm “Partners”?, Death to WiMAX?, Verizon: It’s LTE, and Sprint: It’s WiMAX!

Posted by Sam Churchill on Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 at 7:54 am .

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