Sprint, Clearwire light up 4G in LA, SF, New York

Sprint and Clearwire plan to launch WiMax 4G service in San Francisco and New York, two problem areas for AT&T. Are the rollouts too late?

Sprint and Clearwire on Monday said that they have launched WiMax 4G service in San Francisco and New York, two problem areas for AT&T.

With the big city launches (Techmeme), Sprint and Clearwire have the potential to land more customers. To date, the two have been launching 4G services in smaller locales. Sprint and Clearwire will garner extra distribution with Comcast in San Francisco and Time Warner Cable in New York.

The big question is whether the 4G activations in the big cities are too little too late. AT&T has had trouble with the New York and San Francisco coverage---although New York has improved---but Sprint could poach a few customers. Sprint-Clearwire 4G in New York goes live Nov. 1. In LA it's a Dec. 1 launch. San Francisco gets 4G in late December.

However, Verizon Wireless has plans to bring Long-Term Evolution coverage in larger markets sometime this quarter. Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York are all covered.

Simply put, Sprint and Clearwire would have had more pop with a launch a quarter ago.

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