Clearwire, Sprint set big city high-speed launches

* NY launch seen Nov. 1, LA on Dec 1, San Fran in late Dec

* Verizon Wireless also plans high-speed upgrades

By Sinead Carew

NEW YORK, Oct 18 (BestGrowthStock) – Sprint Nextel (S.N: ) and its
Clearwire Corp (CLWR.O: ) venture will begin offering their
high-speed wireless services from November across some of the
busiest U.S. cities: New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The service — powered by a new technology known as WiMax
— will be available in New York on November 1, Los Angeles on
December 1 and in San Francisco around the end of December,
according to Sprint.

Because these cites have a high concentration of affluent
people who tend to want to buy the latest technology first,
they are seen as key battlegrounds for U.S. telecom providers.

New York and San Francisco are seen as particularly tough
markets to support wireless data services because of the number
of people using high-tech gadgets. AT&T Inc (T.N: ), the
exclusive U.S. iPhone provider, has had to invest heavily to
fight criticism about its network performance in those cities.

Sprint, the No. 4 U.S. mobile provider and a 55 percent
owner of Clearwire, will offer the service — which it markets
publicly as its fourth-generation or 4G — using space on
Clearwire’s network.

However, both companies compete with each other for the
same customers, a factor that analysts say has sparked tension
between their management teams, especially as Clearwire seeks
new funding to continue expanding its network beyond 2010.
Three top Sprint executives recently resigned from Clearwire’s
board. [ID:nN30162285]

The launches come as Verizon Wireless, the biggest U.S.
mobile service, plans to roll out a high-speed upgrade to its
network in 38 cities covering 110 million people by year end.

Clearwire, which has been launching its WiMax service
gradually throughout the year, has promised coverage for 120
million people by the end of the year. [ID:nN06269883]

Verizon Wireless is a venture of Verizon Communications
(VZ.N: ) and Vodafone Group Plc (VOD.L: ).
(Reporting by Sinead Carew; editing by Carol Bishopric)

Clearwire, Sprint set big city high-speed launches