Just in time for the holiday season, mobile operator Sprint has launched its 4G WiMax network to customers in New York City. New York City represents one of the most important—and densest—mobile markets in the United States, and being the first carrier to offer 4G-class services in the metropolis is potentially a windfall for Sprint. The availability of WiMax also means Sprint has made good on its word: New York City has long been one of the major markets Sprint has been promising to light up by the end of 2010.
New York City is one of six new markets Sprint lit up for WiMax service today—the others include Tampa, Trenton and New Brunswick in New Jersey, and Hartford and New Haven in Connecticut. The company says it plans to add several major new markets by the end of 2010, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Denver, and Washington D.C.
“Sprint has provided customers with 4G service since 2008 and we’re proud to extend our leadership to six more cities today, including New York City,” said Matt Carter, president of Sprint 4G. “Sprint is the first national wireless carrier to make 4G a reality for our customers and with the addition of these six new markets we are now in 61 cities, including Chicago, Baltimore and Houston, and are growing.”
The WiMax network is actually being built out by Clearwire, of which Sprint is the majority shareholder. Sprint’s bet on WiMax technology to deliver 4G capabilities has basically been a move to beat competing LTE technology to market. Sprint has been selling WiMax service in selected markets since 2008, and—if you’re lucky enough to be in one of those markets—4G has been a reality for some time now. However, for many major markets, Sprint’s WiMax offerings are likely to face competition soon from LTE offerings from Verizon, AT&T and other carriers, which are working to being 4G services of their own online. Eventually, Clearwire itself may become an LTE provider: the company has already started LTE trials.
Sprint offers a range of WiMax-capable devices, including Android-powered mobile handsets like the HTC Evo 4G and Samsung Epic 4G (see Digital Trends’ comparison), hotspots, and WiMax adapters that can be used with notebooks, netbooks, and other USB devices.