WiMax in Las Vegas now, coming to Macs on August 17

Las Vegas (NV) – Clearwire today announced the availability of its WiMax service in Las Vegas now, which is, according to the company, the 53rd major U.S. city to be covered by the mobile broadband technology. There is also a new software that will enable Macs to connect to Clearwire’s WiMax network as well as a new 4G/3G hybrid modem that will be offered beginning next month.

Clearwire, the U.S. major WiMax provider funded by Intel, Comcast, Sprint, Google, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks, today announced that it has begun offering WiMax mobile broadband service in Las Vegas with a coverage area of 638 square miles.

According to Clearwire’s current coverage map, Las Vegas is the 53rd U.S. city to receive WiMax service, following locations in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, new York, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho and Washington. The company said that it plans to expand its service to more than 80 cities in 2010.

The main pitch for WiMax, commonly also referred to as a “4G” technology, remains its greater bandwidth when compared to 3G networks, which have the advantage of greater coverage at this time. Clearwire claims that “some of today’s 3G wireless networks typically deliver download speeds of between 1.0 and 1.7 Mbps,” while Clearwire customers “can expect to see download speeds of 3 to 6 mbps with bursts over 10 Mbps.”

We cannot confirm those claims published in a press release and they somewhat contradict the information posted on Clearwire’s website, at least for some customers. Residential WiMax plans are separated into several tiers which offer download speeds of 768 Mbps, 1.5 Mbps or 2.0 Mbps. 

Prices range, depending on your choice of speed, the number of provided email accounts from $20 per to $50 per month for a broadband connection at home to $50 per month mobile broadband access and $70 per month for home and mobile WiMax service (2-year service contract). 

Clearwire also announced that it will be offering a USB modem and its Clear WiMax software for Apple Macintosh laptops beginning on August 17. PCs will get a hybrid 3G/4G USB modem that will work seamlessly with Sprint’s 3G network, which, of course requires and additional service plan. The hybrid modem will be offered for Mac computers during the fourth quarter of this year, Clearwire said.

The regular 4G USB modem can be purchased for $60 or rented for $5 per month. The hybrid modem will be available on August for $80, including an instant rebate. For residential WiMax connectivity, Clearwire offers the Clearspot router, which allows consumers to connect to WiMax through a regular Wi-Fi device. The Clearspot is offered for $140.