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WiMax To Finally Hit Chicago Next Month

By Jake Guidry in News on Oct 23, 2009 4:40PM

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Sprint has been teasing Chicagoans for over two years with its proposed WiMax, a 4G wireless network that would blanket the city with high-speed internet access. Although the network was originally supposed to be available in 2008, PC World reported that technical issues (providing sufficient backhaul to wired networks) and "upheaval in the company" blocked the path to success. As it turns out, Sprint, alongside ClearWire and Comcast, have finally ironed things out and will begin selling WiMax in the next several weeks. Other locations for the end-of-the-year roll out include Philadelphia, Seattle, three North Carolina and three Texas cities, and Hawaii.

As the technical gurus at PC World describe it:

"WiMax is a 4G (fourth-generation) wireless service designed to surpass 3G performance by delivering 3M bps (bits per second) or more to subscribers. It hit the market before the LTE (Long-Term Evolution) 4G technology and first went on sale in the U.S. in Baltimore about a year ago. But WiMax has been somewhat overshadowed as larger carriers such as AT&T and Verizon announced they would use LTE. Clearwire's planned WiMax deployment is expected to be the world's largest."

Prices for the services in Chicago are somewhat murky at the moment, but regular prices for the ClearWire service are $20 a month for home access and $50 for combined home and mobile. Sprint's 3G/4G service in areas with WiMax is $69.99 a month. We're a little skeptical of the service and its relatively steep price tag. It seems perhaps too little, too late. Will enough people subscribe to the service to make it a financially viable entity? With so many people completing their basic internet tasks via iPhone, Blackberry, etc., we're not sure people will be willing to tack on yet another internet fee to their monthly bills.