Sprint To Launch 4G WiMAX Network
Sprint Nextel announced a partnership with Intel, Motorola, and Samsung to develop and deploy the first fourth generation (4G) nationwide broadband mobile network, based on the mobile WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) IEEE 802.16e-2005 technology standard.
The four companies plan to develop a nationwide network infrastructure and mobile WiMAX-enabled chipsets that will support advanced wireless broadband services for computing, portable multimedia, interactive and other consumer electronic devices.
The network will make use Sprint’s 2.5GHz spectrum holdings, which cover 85 percent of the households in the top 100 U.S. markets. Sprint says that’s more than any other wireless carrier in a single spectrum band.
“None of us today can envision our lives without wireless connectivity or the Internet,” said Gary Forsee, president and chief executive officer of Sprint Nextel. “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.
Forsee expects the move to allow Sprint to leverage a first-to-market 4G 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,” he said.
WiMAX-based broadband services will be tested in trial markets by the end of 2007, with deployment of a network capable of reaching as many as 100 million people in 2008. Sprint plans to expand mobile
WiMAX coverage thereafter.
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 company expects WiMAX technology to allow a cost-per-megabit and performance advantage that reflects a substantial improvement in the comparable costs for the current 3G mobile broadband offerings.
Intel, Motorola and Samsung have committed to aid Sprint in market development, and by creating mobile WiMAX devices. 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.
Intel believes that the arrangement with Sprint will validate WiMAX and its potential uses.
“Sprint Nextel’s decision confirms Intel’s belief that WiMAX is the wireless technology of choice to deliver affordable broadband access,” said Sean Maloney, executive vice president of Intel.
Motorola sees Sprints launch as a harbinger of things to come.
“We expect that this decision from one of America’s leading carriers and the largest holder of 2.5GHz spectrum will influence the adoption of mobile WiMAX by other carriers worldwide,” said Motorola Chairman and CEO, Ed Zander.
The launch of a 4G mobile WiMAX network is thought to be a “milestone in the US telecommunications industry,” according to KiTae Lee, president of Samsung Electronics’ Telecommunication Network Business.
“Mobile WiMAX has the fastest data transfer rate among the existing wireless technologies and is based on all-IP technology,” said Lee. “Mobile WiMAX-based services will create a new paradigm shift in wireless services and improve consumer lifestyles.”