Broadband cellular coverage hits Boston today, as Clearwire Corp. and its partners officially launched 4G service in Boston. Clearwire's CLEAR 4G WiMax-based fourth generation (4G) cellular service stretches from Danvers to Norwood, officials said.
One of Clearwire's partners, Comcast Corp., reported it has launched its own 4G service, called High-Speed 2go, riding on Clearwire's local 4G infrastructure. In May, Comcast announced it would begin offering 3G service to customers through Sprint Nextel Corp., and eventually 4G service through Clearwire.
Sprint, the majority investor in Clearwire, also announced its 4G service has officially launched today. Earlier this month, Matt Carter, Sprint’s president of 4G, said in an interview that it would happen within “a few weeks.”
In addition to the 2.5 million people Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR) said it now reaches in greater Boston, the Kirkland, Wash.-based company also launched the service in Framingham, Natick, Lowell, Lawrence and Haverhill. With the new launches, CLEAR 4G is now available in 52 markets across the country.
In addition to the Bay State communities getting their first taste of 4G coverage, Clearwire fired up the service in Providence, R.I., and Daytona Beach, Fla., today, and Sprint also turned on coverage in those cities. When a CLEAR 4G user loses the 4G coverage, the modems Clearwire is selling will keep users connected by linking to Sprint’s 3G data network. Sprint is a partner with Clearwire in the 4G deployment, and Sprint’s own 4G offerings will connect through Clearwire’s towers.
To connect to the CLEAR 4G network, Clearwire is selling mobile modems, a home modem and WiMax-embedded laptops. In addition, Clearwire will be selling its access through a service plan called Rover, in which a customer can purchase – with no contract – a single day at $5, a week at $20 or a month at $50 with unlimited usage.
The CLEAR 4G service is expected to run at speeds between 3 Megabits per second and 6 Mbps, with bursts of up to 10 Mbps. In tests of the Sprint Epic 4G phone on the Clearwire-based Sprint 4G service – which is still in test mode – Mass High Tech found 4G speeds running between 2.49 Mbps and 3.08 Mbps when the service was available.