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Sprint Nextel Goes To The WiMax

Sascha Segan - PC Magazine

Sprint Nextel will build the first nationwide mobile WiMax network, giving 100 million Americans wireless Internet access four times faster than current high-speed networks by the end of 2008, Sprint CEO Gary Forsee said at a press conference today.

The "4G" (fourth-generation) network will launch by the end of 2007, Forsee said. Prices will be considerably less than current data charges, said Sprint CTO Barry West. Sprint right now charges $60/month for unlimited access to their EVDO network.

Sprint's mobile WiMax system will be supported by "single and multi-mode devices" from Motorola, Motorola CEO Ed Zander said. Samsung will also provide dual-mode phones, and "Sprint is actively engaged with [consumer electronics] product leaders," according to Forsee. Motorola, Samsung and Intel will all help build Sprint's WiMax infrasutructure.

Consumers should expect to see a whole range of different kinds of devices on the network, including "new, small types of PCs," said Intel executive vice president Sean Maloney, also present at the press conference.

From 3G to 4G

Mobile WiMax, otherwise known as 802.11e, will boost real-world download speeds to 2-4 megabits/second, Forsee said.

"Much of this 4G usage will be user-generated content," Forsee said. "Imagine accessing and building MySpace and YouTube literally on the fly."

Sprint will make a relatively seamless transition to 4G thanks to dual-mode devices and a common applications platform across their 3G and 4G systems, Forsee said.

"As we deploy 4G services, there will be certain devices where we want to embed additional capabilities. It will be an application-based transition," he said. Continue reading for more on Sprint Nextel's new WiMax network.

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