Comcast launches WiMAX offering in Portland

One of Clearwire's cable partners, Comcast, launched its first WiMAX offering in Portland, Ore., where Clearwire rolled out service earlier this year.

Comcast, serving as an MVNO on Clearwire's network, introduced Comcast High-Speed 2go, advertising speeds of up to 4 Mbps. Pricing is aggressive: $50 a month on an introductory basis that includes home Internet service at 12 Mbps and a free WiFi router. After the first year, the price increases to $73 per month. For an extra $20, customers can add nationwide 3G data service from Sprint Nextel to the package.

Could we see a mobile broadband price war emerge in Portland? Verizon Wireless, for instance, currently offers EV-DO service for $60 with a 5GB cap. Clearwire recently became more aggressive with its pricing in Portland, adding new pricing plans that include an unlimited home plan and a mobile package for $55 a month.

Cathy Avgiris, Comcast's general manager for wireless and voice services, said the company will eventually expand its role as a reseller of Clearwire's network and sell the service in other cities. Comcast will include other wireless devices, like cell phones, as part of its offering. She declined to comment on when this expansion would happen. PC World reported that the cable operator plans to launch in Chicago, Atlanta and Philadelphia by year end. Clearwire recently launched service in Atlanta, but has yet to light up Chicago or Philadelphia.

Avgiris indicated the service is meant to complement Comcast's wired broadband offering and pointed out some of the shortcomings of wireless. "There are issues with indoor penetration, and with coverage you sacrifice speed," she told the Wall Street Journal.

So far this year Clearwire has launched mobile WiMAX in Portland and Atlanta and has soft-launched its service in Las Vegas. Sprint Nextel's WiMAX market in Baltimore is being expanded and will be converted to a Clear market later this year. Other markets that will launch this year include Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Philadelphia. The company also will convert existing pre-WiMAX markets in Seattle, Honolulu and Charlotte, N.C., to mobile WiMAX.

For more:
- see PC World
- check out the WSJ (sub. req.)

Related articles:
Clearwire getting more aggressive in Portland
Comcast to resell Clearwire WiMAX service in Portland
Clearwire will launch at least eight markets in 2009 

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