Monday, August 7, 2006

Sprint Nextel Selects Mobile WiMAX for 4G Network

Sprint Nextel's unveiled plans to develop and deploy a 4G nationwide broadband mobile network based on the IEEE 802.16e-2005 mobile WiMAX standard. The network will use Sprint Nextel's extensive 2.5GHz spectrum holdings, which cover 85 percent of the households in the top 100 U.S. markets. Mobile WiMAX iniitially is expected to support data rates in the 2 to 4 Mbps range. Initial services are expected to be online by Q4 2007.

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.

In addition, Sprint Nextel announced partnerships with Intel, Motorola and Samsung to incorporate WiMAX technology for advanced wireless communications and help make chipsets widely available for new consumer electronics 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 WiMAX solutions for Centrino Mobile Technology and next generation computing devices. Intel provide device-to-network verification as well as marketing expertise.

  • Motorola will offer Sprint Nextel both single- and multimode devices designed to enable seamless mobility for users, while playing a major role in its WiMAX infrastructure roll-out. Since Motorola is the exclusive supplier of iDEN technology as well as a major supplier of CDMA and EV-DO Revision A technology, it can offer a end-to-end solution (from radio access network equipment to both single- and multimode mobile devices).

  • Samsung Telecommunications America will be a primary Mobile WiMAX infrastructure supplier to Sprint Nextel and will also deliver dual-mode devices supporting Mobile WiMAX and CDMA2000 1xEV-DO, designed to enable Sprint's Mobile WiMAX users to utilize Sprint Nextel's existing 3G network resources. With its installation of networks in South Korea and other markets, Samsung Electronics is the first to commercially deploy Mobile WiMAX and with its alliance with Sprint Nextel will bring this global expertise to North America. Samsung offers Sprint a total solution including chipsets, infrastructure, mobile devices and consumer electronics focused on Mobile WiMAX and dual-mode WiMAX/CDMA services delivery.

The Rev A and 4G networks will be served by a common IMS core, enabling applications to move seamlessly between networks.

Sprint confirmed that its cable partners are aware of its 4G plans and that the joint venture does have a business plan for leveraging the 4G network. The first services from this joint venture are expected to roll out later this year.

The company did not comment on its strategy, or its cable joint venture strategy, for the upcoming FCC auction of AWS spectrum.
  • Last week, Sprint announced plans to speed up its deployment plan of EV-DO Revision A technology. The company now plans to begin its roll out of EV-DO Revision A service during Q4 2006, with coverage expected to reach more than 40 million people by year end. Sprint said EV-DO Rev A users should expect faster average download speeds of 450 - 800 kbps; and average upload speeds of 300 - 400 kbps. Overall, Sprint plans to reach more than 200 million people in the U.S. with mobile broadband data services (both EV-DO Revisions 0 and A) in 220 major metropolitan areas and 908 airports across the country with its Power Vision network by the end of 2006. By Q3 2007, Sprint's Power Vision network will be completely upgraded to the faster EV-DO Revision A.

See also