Sprint Casts Its Lot With WiMAX

Sprint Nextel Corp. CEO Gary Forsee announced this afternoon that the carrier will adopt the 802.16e mobile WiMAX standard as its 4G broadband technology, partnering with Intel Corp., Motorola Inc. and Samsung.

Sprint will deploy WiMAX gear to leverage its 2.5GHz spectrum holdings, which covers 85 percent of the top 100 U.S. markets. The plan is to conduct trials next year, with commercial releases expected in 2008. The rollout will complement, not replace, Sprints existing EV-DO network.

The carrier has been trialing various next-gen wireless technologies for the 2.5GHz band, including HSPDA, Flash-OFDM from Flarion, and technology from IPWireless. Industry players have been waiting for months to see which technology the carrier would choose.

The announcement comes hard on the heels of 2.5GHz operator Clearwire Corp.s announcement last month that it would convert its proprietary BWA gear to WiMAX. It scored $900 million in financing from Intel and Motorola.

Clearwire and Sprint will be able to leverage each others’ 2.5GHz spectrum holdings to increase their coverage, said Philip Solis, ABI Research senior analyst. Even more important, the satellite TV providers will benefit from a developing WiMAX ecosystem in the United States as they consider their options to leverage a WiMAX network.

Sprint Nextel Corp.


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