Sprint unveils WiMax plans

Sprint adds several cities to its upcoming mobile WiMax network, and names device vendors and a chip development ecosystem.

ORLANDO, Fla.--Sprint Nextel is pushing forward with its plan to build a high-speed mobile WiMax network with the announcement of new device vendors, as well as additional markets where the network will be deployed.

Sprint, which is the third-largest mobile operator in the U.S., said in August that it would spend $3 billion in the next two years to build a network using the IP-based wireless technology known as WiMax . The company expects to build a network that can reach 100 million people by the end of 2008. Sprint is using its existing 2.5GHz spectrum, half of which it acquired from its merger with Nextel, to deliver the new service.

On the eve of the CTIA Wireless trade show, which begins here on Tuesday, Sprint said it had chosen Samsung to develop PC cards for its WiMax network. The cards will come in two different configurations. One will offer WiMax-only connectivity, while the other version will offer WiMax connectivity as well as access to Sprint's third-generation EV-DO network. Sprint also selected ZTE to supply WiMax devices based on the IEEE's 802.16e standard, including PC cards and modem solutions. Zyxel Communications of Anaheim, Calif., will also supply modem products.

To accelerate the pace of WiMax-embedded device development and have a wide variety of WiMax-enabled access devices available for customers, Sprint announced a new WiMax Device and Chipset Ecosystem program that will facilitate the dialog between chipset and device makers. It is designed to guide manufacturers on required specifications, features, functionality and product design.

Sprint also announced several new cities that will be part of the WiMax network when it launches in 2008, and listed which of its infrastructure partners would be developing which markets. Motorola will be developing Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Minneapolis and Grand Rapids, Mich. Samsung will develop Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Providence, R.I. And Nokia will develop Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth metro area, Denver, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Seattle and Portland, Ore.

Sprint had previously announced that Chicago and the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., metro area would be the first two markets to get the service, by the end of 2007. And Nokia had also named four markets, in Texas, for deployment in early 2008: Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio.

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About the author

Marguerite Reardon has been a CNET News reporter since 2004, covering cell phone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate, as well as the ongoing consolidation of the phone companies. E-mail Maggie.

 

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