Home > Sister Cities > Article

Sprint to roll out 4G in Denver

By : denverpost.com|Updated: 2010-12-11

Sprint, the first national wireless carrier to launch high-speed mobile Internet service in the U.S., will finally offer 4G service in the Denver area.

The nation's No. 3 cellular-phone company and its partner, Clearwire, will light up the network Dec. 19, making Denver the 69th market to receive Sprint 4G.

Clearwire, which is building the network and is majority-owned by Sprint, will also launch "Clear"- branded service in the area at the same time.

"We will have coverage in communities along the Front Range, including Fort Collins, Boulder, Loveland, Westminster and Highlands Ranch/Littleton," Clearwire spokeswoman Debra Havins said.

She said the initial service area will cover 2 million potential subscribers.

The network's download speeds will generally range from 3 megabits per second to 6 Mbps, with bursts of up to 12 Mbps. That's up to 10 times faster than 3G speeds.

Verizon Wireless, which has yet to release a 4G-capable cellphone, lit up its high-speed mobile network in Denver and released modem cards that connect computers to the network Sunday.

Meanwhile, Sprint has been slower to offer the service in the area, even though the company initially launched 4G in 2008 and began selling its first 4G cellphone in June.

Sprint and Clearwire have reportedly been at odds over the latter's retail operations, which compete directly with Sprint.

Clearwire recently suspended plans to open retail stores in Denver and Miami, citing a financial crunch. The company also shelved plans to release Clear-branded smart phones.

Clearwire's products, which include laptop cards and home modems, will be available to Denver- area consumers only through its website, Clear.com.

The slower rollout of Sprint 4G in Denver had frustrated many area consumers who purchased the company's 4G cellphones — the HTC Evo and Samsung Epic — which carry $10 device-specific monthly fees.

"We've been very upfront and very clear about the $10 premium data charge regardless of whether a customer is in a 3G or 4G market," said Sprint spokesman Dave Mellin. "That charge is specific only to the Epic and Evo and is there because both of those phones use a significantly higher amount of data than our other phones do."