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Sprint Eyes Super 3G

Sprint Nextel Corp. will test IPWireless new UMTS TD-CDMA platform, which will give operators a smooth upgrade path to the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard, a.k.a. super 3G.

The IP Wireless platform delivers peak speeds up to 29mbps per sector in a pair of 5MHz channels and offers seamless interoperability from paired and unpaired spectrum. The technology will be tested as part of Sprint Nextels ongoing UMTS TD-CDMA trial in the Washington, D.C. area, which was announced in June 2005.

LTE is in the process of being defined by 3GPP as the next evolution for both WCDMA and TD-CDMA for deployment by GSM operators, most likely in the 2.5GHz extension bands in Europe and Asia. Meant to propel 3G into a competitive sphere with DVB-H and WiMAX, characteristics of LTE will include very high data rates, low latencies, optimization for packet access, spectral flexibility to work in variable bandwidths, the ability to work in both unpaired and paired spectrum, support for very high-speed mobility and an IP-based core network.

Sprint Nextel plans to roll out a national network to support digital convergence applications and is evaluating a number of next-generation technologies, including WiMAX and others. The goals of the D.C. trial are to allow Sprint Nextel to test broadband access for laptops, PDAs and handheld devices as well as video streaming, online gaming, document collaboration and video conferencing. The carrier has said that whatever technology it goes with must be interoperable with those of the rest of the world.

Having a common platform with Europe and Asia in the 2.5GHz band would bring a number of benefits, said Barry West, CTO at Sprint Nextel. The potential of IPWireless solution to deliver a viable path to the Long Term Evolution of UMTS is relevant to our analysis of candidate technologies.

Sprint Nextel Corp. www.sprintnextel.com


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