Clearwire WiMAX Live in Chicago, Dallas

November 1, 2009

The long wait for WiMAX in the Windy City as well as the DFW Metroplex is over — as we expected, Clearwire is now selling services in both cities, keeping with the company’s strategy of “soft launching” markets online before staging an “official” market opening with all the attendant hoopla.

Since it’s Nov. 1, time for a new map — and the one on the website now shows Chicago “in the green” of Clearwire services, while adding Dallas/Fort Worth to the list of cities with service in Texas.

In North Carolina, the cities of Charlotte, Raliegh and Greensboro are also now listed as "live," so it looks like Clearwire should be able to make good on its promise to step up subscriber numbers in Q4, simply by having lots more markets selling services.

The big ones, however, are Chicago and Dallas — two huge metro areas where Clearwire will see how it fares against existing service providers. In Chicago, Clearwire also has its first true “commuter” city, since thousands there ride the rails every day, to and from work, play, school and in just general getting-aroundness. Will WiMAX’s ability to connect while mobile make a big impression? We are only now just going to find out.

We’ll have some more thinking on Clearwire market launches later this week. And yes, the launches mean that Sprint’s 4G services are available there too. Meanwhile, more detail from the Chicago maps below.

Clearwire: WiMAX for Chicago, Dallas in November

October 22, 2009

If you were wondering just exactly when Clearwire was going to start selling WiMAX services in the remaining cities the provider promised would launch in 2009, wonder no more — today the company announced some more-firm plans for delivery, which include November launches for Chicago and Dallas, and a December launch for Seattle.

Here are the official company press releases, one which talks about companion services offered through both Sprint and Comcast, and another that details Sprint and Clearwire plans only. A quick list is below:

Markets Clearwire Will Launch in November:
– Philadelphia (actually already selling services there)
– Chicago
– Dallas/Fort Worth
– San Antonio
– Charlotte, N.C.
– Greensboro, N.C.
– Raleigh, N.C.

December Launches:
– Seattle
– Honolulu
– Maui, Hawaii

Let it be known that we will volunteer to test the Maui service when it launches… anyone willing to sponsor our “fact-finding” trip? :-)

No word yet on when Clearwire will officially retire the Xohm operations in Baltimore and start selling Clear services there. But if it happens before the end of the year, then Clearwire will get to its planned 25 new markets for 2009.

Clearwire Launches WiMAX in Philadelphia

October 1, 2009

Just like in the real baseball world, Philadelphia stuck it to Chicago again Thursday — the very night the Phillies clinched the NL East (while the Cubs lost a doubleheader dooming any longshot chances), Clearwire updated its coverage maps to show that — ta da! — the city of brotherly love had beaten Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth to the launch line as the first “big” metro area to get Clearwire’s WiMAX services.

Sporting a new, clean (clear?) look to its website — with a front page topped by the extension of its half-off pricing promotion — Clearwire has entered the fourth fiscal quarter of 2009 with a bang, rolling into Philadelphia somewhat unexpectedly, at least to us so-called Clearwire know-it-alls who had predicted Dallas or Chicago would be the first big market after Atlanta to go live. (Hey at least I don’t have to buy Dan Jones a beer now!) From the looks of its new spiffy maps, Chicago and DFW will go live soon, since on one iteration Chicago appears as a “live” dot (but on the detailed map it says coming soon).

With the benefit of hindsight, it’s an easy guess as to why Philadelphia got moved up on the launch schedule — it is, after all, the corporate home town of Clearwire’s best reseller and investor buddy, Comcast. (Too bad it looks like the idea of Comcast having NBC content to push over WiMAX aren’t true.) Rumors and speculation aside, what is becoming clear is that Clearwire is doing a good job of following through on its 4G deployment schedule, even as its so-called bigger-pocket competitors like AT&T scale back on their wireless ambitions.

Verizon, for its part, is publicly still saying that it will launch its Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in test mode before the end of the year, but good luck getting anyone from Big Red to talk about LTE at next week’s CTIA show in San Diego — according to a PR rep from Verizon that we spoke to Wednesday, there won’t be anyone from the company speaking publicly about LTE at CTIA. Guess that means Clearwire, for now, has the 2009 4G postseason to itself in the U.S.

(Big Philly map from Clearwire below, along with the new nationwide map from the site. They really should make these embeddable!)

UPDATE: Looks like the Clearwire corporate site got a makeover too. We’ll miss that old yeller site but apparently the company is (finally!) declaring its pre-WiMAX days are over…