Clearwire has unveiled its Clear 4G mobile Internet service for residential and business customers in St. Louis, the greater Salt Lake City area and Richmond, Va., and Sprint has concurrently launched 4G service in all three areas.
In St. Louis, Clear covers more than 600 square miles and more than 1.2 million people. Along the Wasatch Front in Utah, Clear covers nearly 450 square miles and more than 790,000 people. And in the Richmond metro area, Clear covers more than 350 square miles and more than 530,000 consumers. A complete Clear coverage map is available online.
For a limited time, customers can take advantage of Clear's online-only mobile Internet promotion, with plans starting as low as $15 per month for the first two months after a $50 service credit.
Meanwhile, Sprint and Samsung announced the impending launch of the carrier's next 4G-capable smartphone, the Samsung Epic 4G. The new phone is part of Samsung's quickly expanding line of Galaxy S devices that have garnered mostly favorable reviews over the past couple of weeks.
The Epic features a 4-inch Super Amoled touchscreen with a slide-out qwerty keyboard. Much like the HTC Evo 4G from Sprint, the device is being billed as a multimedia phone. The Epic will have access to the Samsung Media Hub, where users can purchase movies and TV programming.
The Epic also will be able to access Samsung's AllShare service, which allows users to wirelessly share stored music, pictures and HD video to other Digital Living Network Alliance-certified home electronics.
The Epic will come running Android 2.1, with an update to 2.2 (Froyo) coming at a later date. Additional specs include Samsung's 1 GHz Hummingbird processor, 5 MP camera/camcorder with auto focus, LED flash and 3x digital zoom for HD video3 (720p) video recording, front-facing camera, visual voicemail and mobile hotspot functionality for up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
Even with the slide-out qwerty, the Epic has managed to stay slim. The new phone comes in at 14.22 millimeters thick, just 1 millimeter thicker than HTC's Evo 4G. Sprint said it will announce pricing and availability in the coming months.
The 4G-capable Epic comes amid a flurry of high-end smartphone releases from Samsung. Just last week, Lee Donjoo, Samsung's senior vice president of the company's mobile communications division, told Bloomberg that Samsung hopes to double its market share, from 5 percent to 10 percent, by the end of 2010.
– Wireless Week's Andrew Berg contributed to this report