Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sprint Readies "Xohm" WiMAX Rollout

Sprint said it is on-track with its "Xohm" WiMAX mobile broadband initiative, citing new access device developments, simplified network connectivity and an international operator alliance. In a keynote address at WiMAX World tradeshow in Chicago, Barry West, Sprint Nextel CTO and president, Xohm business unit, confirmed that pre-commercial WiMAX service will be active in the Chicago, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. areas by year-end 2007. Commercial service is expected to be available in a number of markets starting April 2008 and anticipated to cover 100 million people by year-end 2008 in conjunction with a planned partnership with Clearwire.

West also predicted that we are about to experience a seismic shift in the way wireless devices get into customer hands. In the traditional telecom model, the carrier subsidizes the device in exchange for a lengthy contract and manages the supply chain. In that scenario, the device is the customer. In the Mobile Internet world, West predicts a WiMAX embedded model that enables devices well beyond the cell phone to be optimized for a particular use. Customers buy them in retail outlets at non-subsidized prices. Sprint recognizes that customers have multiple devices they may want to connect and pay once for the privilege instead of individual contracts. Therefore, Sprint will follow a business model that leverages the embedding of WiMAX-capable chipsets in traditional telecom devices and in consumer electronic products - many of which could not previously justify connectivity.

In addition, West announced that Korea Telecom has entered into a memo of understanding with Sprint for cooperation on the promotion of WiMAX to drive roaming, manufacturing scale and ecosystem development in support of global WiMAX adoption.


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