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Clearwire Bundles WiMax With Sprint's 3G Network

Clearwire next month will roll out a wireless plan with a dual-mode device that lets subscribers connect to high-speed WiMax service in markets where it's available -- including Las Vegas, Atlanta, Portland, Ore., and Baltimore -- and also get nationwide Internet access through Sprint's 3G network.

Comcast in late June debuted its own WiMax offering in Portland, provided on a wholesale basis from Clearwire, with a Fast Pack Nationwide plan that extends coverage through the Sprint 3G network.

Clearwire starting Aug. 1 will offer the Clear 4G+ mobile USB, a dual-mode 4G/3G modem supplied by Motorola, with a service plan of $80 per month with a two-year service agreement. With the service, customers who travel outside of 4G coverage areas can access Sprint's 3G network, which provides download speeds of up to 1.5 Mbps.

Comcast's introductory pricing on the nationwide plan is $69.99 per month for the first 12 months bundled with 12-Mbps wired broadband ($92.95 after 12 months).

Also Tuesday, Clearwire officially launched WiMax service in Las Vegas, with a network serving 1.7 million residents across 638 square miles.

Sprint, for its part, said it will launch WiMax service next month in Las Vegas, Atlanta and Portland, Ore., with details on the plans to be announced later. Sprint is Clearwire's largest shareholder, with a 51% stake in the company. Other owners include Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Intel and Google.

Clearwire's WiMax service is advertised as delivering peak downlink speeds of more than 10 Mbps and average downlink speeds of 3 to 6 Mbps. Its home Internet service plans start at $20 per month, while mobile plans start at $30 per month. A one-day pass costs $10.

In Las Vegas, Clearwire is using Motorola desktop CPEi 150 and USBw 100 WiMax adapters. In addition, the service provider is using more than 300 cell sites equipped with Motorola's WAP 400 Diversity Access Point product, which uses tower-top power amplifiers connected to base control units housed in a small outdoor cabinet at the bottom of the tower.

Clearwire says other WiMax-enabled devices are currently on the market, including laptops from Dell, Fujitsu, Samsung, Lenovo and Toshiba that incorporate Intel's Centrino 2 processor.

Ciena, meanwhile, is providing the backhaul solution for the WiMax service in Las Vegas in addition to deployments in Baltimore, Atlanta and Portland. Clearwire is using Ciena's LE-311v service delivery switches, CN 5305 service aggregation switches and Ethernet services management software for its 4G backhaul solution.

Clearwire plans to deploy WiMax service 80 markets covering up to 120 million people by the end of 2010, with some of the additional markets planned to launch in 2009 include Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Honolulu, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Some of the additional markets planned to launch in 2010 include New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Houston and the San Francisco Bay Area.