4G coming to New York, LA, San Francisco this year

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Clearwire is launching its 4G WiMax network in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles before the end of the year, it said today.

The service offers speeds similar to Wi-Fi but without the short-range limitations and is already available in 56 markets across the U.S. The upcoming launch will strengthen the network's reach into the largest cities in the U.S. and will likely make the service more attractive to business users who are often on the road.

New York will get service from Nov. 1, Los Angeles on Dec. 1, and San Francisco in late December, the company said.

Services will be launched by Clearwire under its "Clear" brand and by Sprint, which owns a majority stake in Clearwire. In New York service will also be offered by Time Warner Cable and in San Francisco by Comcast.

Networks in the three cities have been tested for several weeks and last month PC World reported on initial service in San Francisco. The magazine found download speeds of almost 3Mbit/sec. and upload speeds of 1Mbit/sec. on the test network.

When full service begins users should see download speeds of between 3Mbit/sec. and 6Mbit/sec., PC World said.

Clearwire also said it plans to launch 4G service in Denver, Miami, Cincinnati and Cleveland before the end of 2010.

The additional launches means Phoenix will become the largest U.S. city without 4G service from Clearwire/Sprint.

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