In the race to get faster wireless Internet to Orange County, Sprint took the lead Tuesday by naming our area as one of seven new markets it plans to launch service by the end of the year.
By the end of 2010, Sprint plans to offer 4th-generation wireless service in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Miami, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City and St. Louis. It previously announced that service would also begin this year in Boston, Denver, Kansas City, Houston, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Specifically, Sprint tells me that 4G service will cover most of North Orange County and down to Irvine. At least that’s the plan through the end of 2010.
But that’s the 4G race report as of Tuesday, 8:22 a.m. The other prime contender is Verizon, which plans to launch its own version of 4G wireless Internet this year. The company hasn’t named Orange County as a target for its Long Term Evolution (LTE) service but last week said that it’s on track to launch 4G in up to 30 unnamed markets. We may hear more from Verizon, being that this week happens to be the CTIA Show, the annual wireless convention in Las Vegas.
Back to Sprint’s big news, the company is indeed the first in the U.S. to offer a fourth-generation of wireless Internet and phone service. Teaming up with Clearwire, Sprint launched its 4G service in September 2008 and it’s currently available in 25 cities nationwide.
Using a technology called Wimax, Sprint says that its wireless speeds are 3 to 6 megabits per second, which is “up to 10 times faster” than today’s existing 3G speeds of around 600 kilobits per second.
What’s the big deal? 4G service allows your phone, laptop or other portable 4G device to stream HD movies, download large files and create a home wireless Internet so you can skip slower DSL, according to Sprint. Sprint set up a 4G site with more information for customers here: sprint.com/4G
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