updated 10:20 am EDT, Wed March 25, 2009
Sprint WiMAX Rollouts 2009
Sprint today outlined its expansion plans for its WiMAX 4G service for the next year as well as some early hints of its 2010 plans. The carrier now hopes to launch its wide-area wireless in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Portland and Seattle at varying points throughout the year. It has also pushed back its originally planned Washington DC introduction to 2010 and expects to reserve other major cities for service next year, including Boston, Houston, New York and San Francisco.
The data-focused service generates download speeds up to 12Mbps in peak conditions and encounters real-world speeds closer to 2-4Mbps. While significantly faster than 3G -- Sprint claims at least twice the speed -- the service has struggled to gain adoption in the US both through coverage and device support. While Clearwire is running a larger network, Sprint's 4G is limited to Baltimore. It also has little formal backing beyond a handful of notebooks from Acer, ASUS and Toshiba as well as a handful of network adapters.
Within the next two years, Sprint is also likely to face stiff competition from 4G provided on the Long Term Evolution standard, which has already been supplying 60Mbps downstream in actual tests with Verizon.