4G

WiMAX gets a launch date for New York, LA, and San Francisco

Three of the primary tech epicenters of the U.S. are about to have not one but two 4G networks to choose from by the end of 2010.

Three of the primary tech epicenters of the U.S. are about to have not one but two 4G networks to choose from by the end of 2010, as Clearwire revealed more official launch information for 4G WiMAX on Monday.

New York, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area have been three of the worst places to try to get a mobile broadband connection for the past couple years because there are so many people fighting for the airwaves and only so much bandwidth available on 3G networks. That's about to change dramatically in the next two months.

Sprint partner Clearwire announced that it will be lighting up 4G WiMAX in New York on November 1, in Los Angeles on December 1, and in San Francisco in the final weeks of December. Clearwire has already launched WiMAX 4G in 56 markets in the U.S., covering about 66 million people in mid-market cities.

Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless is bringing its 4G LTE network to 38 U.S. cities -- including, New York, LA, and San Francisco -- by the end of 2010 and then expanding nationwide across the U.S. in 2011-2013. Verizon has not released specific launch dates yet.

Both of these 4G networks will have the capacity to handle faster download and upload speeds (LTE a bit more than WiMAX), but even more significant is the fact that they will be able to handle greater numbers of users, especially in high population areas. The reason is that these 4G networks were built to handle data, unlike the 3G networks, which are basically voice networks retrofitted to handle data and so they can only fling around so many bits at a time.

Keep in mind that existing devices won't be able to use the 4G networks. They'll need new chips. Sprint has two smartphones with 4G built-in -- the HTC EVO 4G and the Samsung Epic 4G. Verizon doesn't have any 4G-equipped smartphones on the market yet.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

12 comments
SonhadorPR
SonhadorPR

Why didn't you mention the Nationwide 4G rollout T-Mobile is doing?

sauerbach
sauerbach

Despite the years of saturation advertising, Verizon still has not gotten FIOS into Manhattan. I believe nothing until after it is actually running.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

It's what's called HSPA+ (sometimes called 3.5G). It's not very widespread yet and it's not 4G. It's basically just an enhancement of the existing 3G network.

DBOConnor
DBOConnor

Tmobile is the Ralph nader of of mobile service providers. I had them for 5years and the only thing they had good going for them was Catherine zeta jones in the ads.

mike.pulaski
mike.pulaski

Verizon wireless and verizon fios are 2 different companies really. But I understand your pain. Unless somebody wants to pay the ridiculous costs it would take to put more fiber underground in NYC, don't hold your breath for FIOS.

mike.pulaski
mike.pulaski

I have a Sprint Evo 4G. The phone itself just plain rocks. I had a Palm Pre and the Evo makes me think Palm could have done the same if they had decent hardware, but thats another conversation. 4G is ridiculously fast. When I tried it in the store with my new phone, it was super impressive. Once I got home, about a mile away, I can't get 4g in my house!!!! I can almost see the Sprint store from my house! I get 3G signals no problem, its that I'm in a dead zone for 4G even though the supposed boundries are 10 miles past my house. I'm just outside Philly. So WHEN I can get it working, its awesome although it eats up battery a tad quicker. But until the coverage overlaps like 3G, I can't say its a game changer for me or for business use. Does anyone else have coverage problems in 4g zones?

agoodspeed
agoodspeed

I work for a HomeCare company and increased availability of high speed internet access can only help the industry. Health care in general could see some significant increases in the ability to talk with patients if this technology is implemented. The technology would also change the State I live in for all businesses. Maine is like most rural states when it comes to infrastructure. Wireless is the future for rural regions because it's a cost effective medium to transmit data rather than a costly cable network. In addition 4G communications provides better redundant systems and while failure points are more localized there would be less likely of a failure and the failure would be easier to find and repair. Maintenance would also be much more efficient. Costs should be at par with or cheaper than most other forms of high speed data connections (cable, dsl, fiber, satellite). Some of my concerns with 4G are be: weather and its affects on transmission, line of sight, encryption, and resistance from establishments with existing infrastructure.

curtis
curtis

WiMAX is OFDM. HSPA (3.5G) is CDMA. LTE is OFDM. The difference between WiMAX and LTE is a software change. A standard for placing a voice call on LTE has not bee ratified, yet so there will probably still be incompatibilities between all the 4G vendors for a while and Sprint has signaled that it will probably switch to LTE.

DBOConnor
DBOConnor

There is a known issue with this problem with 4G coverage that does not happen with the Samsung Epic. I am not sure if this is something HTC can fix via a firmware upgrade or recall.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

WiMAX and LTE are cousins, related via OFDM.

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