Clearwire Corp is building a high-speed wireless network in Silicon Valley this summer in an effort to encourage software developers to create new software applications for its wireless service, according to its co-chairman Benjamin Wolff.

Clearwire, backed by wireless pioneer Craig McCaw, said its network based on WiMax, an emerging technology that promises to blanket entire cities with high-speed wireless Web access, said it will initially cover more than 20 square miles in Silicon Valley, home to many high-tech companies.

Wolff announced the plan during his keynote speech at the CTIA annual wireless technology showcase where one of the top themes under discussion has been application storefronts for wireless services.

He said that the company would bring its wireless service to campuses of two of its financial backers Google Inc, Intel Corp and will provide the service free for qualified developers.

Cisco Systems will provide the equipment for the wired connections between the network's wireless towers.

It said that the service is expected to be available to developers by late summer of this year ahead of commercial service launching in the Bay Area in 2010.

In addition to the mobile WiMax network in the Bay Area, Clearwire plans to cover up to 120 million people with its wireless service in more than 80 cities by the end of 2010.

They will include Atlanta, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Honolulu, Philadelphia, and Seattle.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew)