Sprint Nextel not satisfied with just G (thirdgeneration) mobile data will roll out a faster G network using WiMax later this year.
The network which will start to be rolled out by the fourth quarter and reach as many as million people around the U.S. by the end of next year will offer downstream speeds of megabits per second to mbps Sprint said Tuesday. Combined with fast uplinks WiMax will offer enough bandwidth for mobile videoconferencing transfers of large enterprise files and other applications executives said.
Partners Intel Motorola and Samsung Electronics plan to help by equipping notebook PCs and a variety of mobile devices to use the G network.
First Carrier to Choose WiMax
Sprint Nextel is the thirdlargest U.S. mobile operator. Its choice of WiMax is the first endorsement of the metropolitanarea wireless data system by a major U.S. carrier. Sprint holds licenses around the country for radio spectrum in the .GHz band and had considered other G technologies. The carrier said it chose WiMax because it believes it could build an ecosystem of equipment makers around the technology which is based on the IEEE .e standard.
The G service will complement Sprint Nextel's G EVDO (EvolutionData Optimized) services executives said at a New York press conference monitored via Web cast. The carrier is already offering video music and other multimedia services on G but that technology doesn't deliver the economics Sprint needs said Barry West Sprint chief technology officer and president of Sprint's newly formed G business unit. The WiMax network can deliver four times the throughput at onetenth the cost of G he said.
Pricing of G services will easily meet Sprint Nextel's frequently stated goal of offering customers G byte of data per month for less than $ West said. "We are significantly south of that" he said.
Sprint's embrace of WiMax along with its powerful hardware partners will have an impact far beyond U.S. shores according to IDC analyst Shiv Bakhshi.
"That will create an ecosystem trust me" Bakhshi said. Motorola and Samsung's position in the mobile device market along with Intel's marketing power will help make this a turning point for WiMax he said.
"WiMax was in need of a major player signing on to it" he said adding that Sprint's deployment will become a showcase to the rest of the world.
Backers of WiMax especially Intel have pushed it as a standardsbased technology that will get less expensive as manufacturing volumes grow. Financial commitments by Sprint's hardware partners weren't detailed Tuesday but Sprint said it plans to spend $ billion this year and $. billion to $ billion next year on G.