Clearwire, partners flip switch in seven WiMax markets

Intheirbiggest launch day yet, Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) and its virtual network partners Sprint (NYSE:S) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) rolled out commercial WiMax service in seven new markets today, including in the long-awaited Chicago, where Motorola (NYSE:MOT) has been building a massive metropolitan network for more than two years.

Clearwire activated three major networks in Texas — Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin — and turned up a good deal of North Carolina, launching service in metropolitan Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh,and in thesurrounding communities of Winston-Salem, High Point, Durham, Chapel Hill and Carey. Sprint, Clearwire’sprimary investor,will offer its 3G/4G hybridbroadband in all of those markets, while Clearwire’s other active MVNO Comcast will sell WiMax as a supplementary mobile broadband service in its cable franchise market Chicago.

Last week, Clearwire officially launched service in Philadelphia. With the seven new markets Clearwirehas nearly completedits planned 25-city rollout plan for 2009. Only Seattle and Honolulu remain.

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