As expected, WiMAX upstart clwr has officially launched its CLEAR 4G in the greater Houston area. This rollout covers more raw territory than any of the company's efforts so far, bringing online over 1900 square miles and potentially reaching some 4 million people. That includes the Lake Jackson area as well as the main regions, the overall map looks like this:
Wasting literally no time, Clearwire's major shareholder Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S, news, filings) rolled into Houston as well and has begun selling the service and their various WiMAX devices to access it with. They are of course pushing the HTC EVO 4G which they unveiled last week, but of course that phone isn't actually available just yet.
Sprint also makes the case that Texas is the 'biggest 4G state'. Now, leaving aside the purists complaint about whether this is true 4G or not, they have a point. In other areas, there are lonely islands of WiMAX coverage, because despite Clearwire's haste the USA is a very large country. But in Texas they've gone beyond lonely islands. With 12 of its largest cities already online, the state is more of a WiMAX archipelago. A collection of WiMAX islands surrounded by a 3G sea.
Will that make a difference in sales? I'll bet it does have a positive effect. In fact, since Houston is only the latest puzzle piece I will bet it has already had a positive effect. But still it's a long way to go from an archipelago to a continent.
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