Clearwire Ups WiMax Broadband Coverage To 51 Million

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Clearwire, the wireless broadband company whose backers include Comcast and Time Warner Cable, has launched service in three more markets -- St. Louis, Salt Lake City and Richmond, Va. -- bringing its coverage area to 37 markets covering 51 million people in the U.S.

Clearwire expects to cover up to 120 million people in the 100 biggest U.S. markets with its 4G network by the end of 2010.

As of March 31, Clearwire had 971,000 customers, of which 157,000 were through wholesale partners including Comcast, TWC and Sprint. Clearwire forecasts having 2 million WiMax subs by year-end.

For its own Clear retail offering, Clearwire touts average mobile download speeds of 3 to 6 Megabits per second with bursts over 10 Mbps. In most markets, Clear's unlimited 4G plans start at $30 per month for home users while unlimited mobile plans start at $40 per month.

Comcast is the incumbent cable provider in Richmond as well as Salt Lake City. The MSO brands its WiMax service as High-Speed 2go and markets it as a mobile-broadband component of a bundle that includes DOCSIS cable-modem service.

In the greater Salt Lake City area, Clearwire's network covers nearly 450 square miles and more than 790,000 people extending as far north as Ogden, including Weber to the north and Layton to the south.

Clearwire's Richmond buildout covers more than 350 square miles and more than 530,000 people. Service extends as far west as West End, Midlothian and Brandermill, east to Sandston, Highland Springs and Richmond International Airport, as far north as Virginia Center Commons, and as far south as the south side of Chester.

In St. Louis, Clearwire's coverage area of more than 600 square miles and more than 1.2 million people extends as far north as the Missouri River, south to Imperial, east to Collinsville, Ill., and west to Foristell.