There is no question as to which companies are unrolling “4G” services this year; there are only four companies releasing what they are calling fourth generation wireless service within the next few months and they are Clearwire, Sprint, Verizon, and MetroPCS. Clearwire and Sprint utilize WiMAX technology, and Verizon and MetroPCS make use of LTE technology. Luckily for Boston, they are all scheduled for deployment in that one city in 2010.
Clearwire and Sprint are, for all intents and purposes, the same thing. Sprint is the majority shareholder of Clearwire and they share the same WiMAX network.
“We should launch sometime during the month of September,’’ said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse in a speech while in Boston last week.This will please many Sprint customers, especially those who have the first “4G” compatible smartphone, the HTC EVO 4G, that is currently sold out in many stores all over the country. Sprint has another “4G” phone due to come out next week, the Samsung Epic 4G, which will probably also sell out, especially in cities like Boston that get “4G”. Clear, however, will be launching within the next week, according to Matthew Drinkhahn, Clearwire’s general manager for Boston. Data service will be available under the brand name Clear with plans starting from $30 a month.
Verizon and MetroPCS also have launching plans in Boston for the current year using LTE technology. They will likely be offering similar services. MetroPCS already has a LTE-enabled phone, the Samsung Craft. Verizon is sure to follow, but their cell phone services won’t be available until they create their own LTE-enabled phone. Until then, Verizon will be releasing dongles to expand coverage. Those two LTE carriers still have a long way to go before they release “4G” services that are even comparable to the WiMAX services that Sprint and Clear are going to be providing.
Disclosure: Long CLWR, Long S, Long VZ, Long PCS