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ENHANCEMENT: Sprint Nextel selects WiMAX as next generation wireless platform
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 10.08.06 - 16:57:58 CET under 01 - General News - Viewed 8230x
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Well, that's definitely bad news, even on the first look it sounds promising: Sprint Nextel on Tuesday announced its plans to develop and deploy the first (as they call it) fourth generation (4G) nationwide broadband mobile network. The so called 4G wireless broadband network will use the mobile WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) IEEE 802.16e-2005 technology standard. Working together with Intel, Motorola and Samsung, Sprint Nextel will develop a nationwide network infrastructure as well as mobile WiMAX-enabled chipsets that will support advanced wireless broadband services for computing, portable multimedia, interactive and other consumer electronic devices. These efforts are intended to allow Sprint Nextel customers to experience a nationwide mobile data network that is designed to offer faster speeds, lower cost, and greater convenience and enhanced multimedia quality.

The Sprint Nextel 4G mobility network will use the company's extensive 2.5GHz spectrum holdings, which cover 85 percent of the households in the top 100 U.S. markets - the most of any wireless carrier in any single spectrum band. To access that network, Sprint Nextel will work with Intel, Motorola and Samsung to incorporate WiMAX technology for advanced wireless communications and help make chipsets widely available for new consumer electronics devices, connecting consumers to the Internet and to each other while providing them with the flexibility to do what they want or need to do regardless of time or place.

"None of us today can envision our lives without wireless connectivity or the Internet," explained Gary Forsee, president and chief executive officer of Sprint Nextel. "Sprint Nextel is taking a major step forward by linking the incredible potential of these two cornerstones of daily communications. We'll give customers the power to harness business information and personal entertainment easily and inexpensively -- and in ways that they will one day wonder how they lived without.

This announcement is another step in Sprint Nextel's broadband mobility leadership, and we expect to establish a first-to-market next generation network advantage. We will have a unique broadband capability for meeting the growing access and mobile Internet needs of businesses, governments and consumers when and where they want."

In working together with Intel, Motorola, and Samsung, Sprint Nextel has the experience, network infrastructure, spectrum and distribution channels to make 4G mobility services pervasive and indispensable for customers. The company's deployment plans target a launch of the advanced wireless broadband services in trial markets by the end of 2007 with plans to deploy a network that reaches as many as 100 million people in 2008. Sprint Nextel plans to expand mobile WiMAX network coverage thereafter.

The company will continue to invest in and offer access to its current wireless and Sprint Power VisionSM mobile broadband networks to serve customer communications needs today and into the future. As evidenced by its strong data results and expanding 3G broadband network, Sprint Nextel continues its innovation and leadership in driving mobile data.

Sprint Nextel has created a unique business model designed to foster the rapid deployment and adoption of mobile WiMAX technology in the United States and abroad. Sprint Nextel is expecting to invest $1 billion in 2007 and between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in 2008 relating to the 4G mobile broadband network. The WiMAX technology to be deployed in the network is expected to offer a cost-per-megabit and performance advantage that reflects a substantial improvement in the comparable costs for the current 3G mobile broadband offerings.

Commitments from Intel, Motorola and Samsung in the areas of market development, mobile WiMAX devices and other contributions to Sprint Nextel's core business are expected to accelerate Sprint Nextel's goal of deploying services and market adoption. Motorola and Samsung will also support Sprint's current and CDMA/EV-DO network technologies by creating multimode devices that will support services on both the 4G network and the 3G network in areas outside the planned 4G coverage, and will provide voice service using the core 3G network. The 4G broadband network will offer a complementary, high-bandwidth service driven by data centric devices.

Intel, one of the early members of the WiMAX Forum and one of the key contributors to the IEEE 802.16e-2005 standard, will deliver next generation WiMAX solutions for Centrino Mobile Technology and next generation computing devices. Intel will bring its extensive history in device-to-network verification as well as marketing expertise to expose customers to the breadth of new WiMAX capabilities and services.

The problem I see here is interoperability and device availability. Quite frankly - 4G isn't a defined mobile telecommunication standard today, at least not defined as "4G" by neither the GSM Association, nor by the 3GPP or the ITU and calling WiMAX a 4G standard now will definitely confuse the customer, sooner or later if the real 4G follower of today's 3G/3.5G is defined and ready to start.
Sure I like the idea to enhance today's mobile networks with alternative wireless technologies to provide better and fast mobile Internet access but companies better not making the mistake to put the wrong name on such service.
It always was and still is a problem, that for instance in North America different frequencies are used for GSM (850/1900 MHz vs. the normally used 900/1800 MHz) and now for UMTS as well (850/1900 MHz. vs. the normally used 2100 MHz) which results in "catastrophes" as we have recently seen with the HTC MTeoR and if a company claims now, to launch a 4G network, the confusion will continues.

Cheers ~ Arne


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