Sprint Announces New WiMax Details

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ORLANDO, Florida--Sprint Nextel today expanded the roster of cities that will be wired for WiMax, the 4th-generation wireless telecom technology that it plans to launch commercially next year.

At a news conference on the eve of the CTIA Wireless trade show here, company executives said Samsung, ZTE and ZyXel will make its first WiMax modems and adapters. Sprint Nextel also announced a name for the converged TV-phone-cell phone service it has launched in partnership with several major cable companies: Pivot.

Sprint had previously named Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. as the first cities where it will offer pilot WiMax programs later this year. Sprint is working with Motorola, Samsung, and Nokia to develop additional WiMax markets in 2008. They are: Austin, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fort Worth, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Portland, Providence, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Seattle.

WiMax Launch in 2008

Sprint says it expects its commercial WiMax launch to take place in April 2008; the company anticipates the service will be available to 100 million people by the end of 2008. WiMax is expected to deliver real-world bandwidth on the order of 2 to 4 megabits per second, compared to the 300 to 700 kilobits per second today's EVDO wireless service delivers.

"This is a game-changing environment," said Atish Gude, senior vice president for mobile operations.

Samsung will make WiMax and dual-mode WiMax-EVDO PC cards for the new service, Sprint officials said. ZTE, a major Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer, will make WiMax cards in the USB and ExpressCard formats, as well as other WiMax modems. ZyXel will also make WiMax modems, Gude said.

Service Named Pivot

Sprint is already offering converged landline/cell phone/TV services in partnership with cable companies, including Advance/Newhouse, Comcast, Cox, and Time Warner Cable. But today the service got a name, Pivot.

Pivot, which will be co-branded with the provider's name (e.g. Comcast Pivot), allows (or will allow) customers to get their phone and cable services on a single bill; unify their mobile and landline voice messaging systems; access their cable TV listings remotely; and generally access data whether they're at home or on the road.

The service is already available in eight markets; Sprint says it will be in 40 markets by year's end.

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