Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy and wireless operator Clearwire today confirmed speculation that Best Buy would use Clearwire’s 4G network to offer mobile Internet service to customers beginning in 2011. The offering will essentially be a new 4G tier for the recently launched Best Buy Connect service, which is based on 3G connectivity from Sprint.

The 4G Best Buy Connect offering should benefit from a previously announced agreement between Best Buy and Clearwire through which the retailer offers portable computers with built-in 4G support via the Clearwire network. As Jed Stillman, vice president of Best Buy Connect, noted in today’s announcement, the idea behind Best Buy Connect is to capture service customers at the time they purchase a wireless device. “This agreement paves the way to providing one-stop shopping and support for mobile broadband as more people become more connected across all kinds of devices,” said Stillman.

Stillman also hinted that Best Buy might use 4G connectivity as a platform for providing new types of services in the future. “Our strategic wholesale agreement with Clearwire will enable Best Buy Connect to leverage the Clearwire 4G network’s speed and bandwidth to deliver compelling new mobile broadband experiences for our customers,” he said.

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Best Buy has become an increasingly familiar name for communications service providers. Recently the retailer announced a digital video service that provides customers same-day access to new release movies and TV shows through certain Blue-ray disc players and high-definition televisions or, via a web site, to a variety of Internet-connected devices.

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