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12/12/2007
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Sprint Continues To Fatten Its WiMax Unit For A Possible Quick Sale

A decision isn't likely to be made until a new CEO is named, probably after the new year, executives have said.

Sprint continued to forge ahead with its WiMax deployment plans Tuesday as it kicked off its Application Developer Conference and hailed a WiMax-chipset interoperability test even as reports continued to surface that the company is preparing its WiMax operation to be spun off early next year.

Meeting in Kansas, the ancestral home of Sprint, developers were lining up to hear a keynote speech by Peter Levinsohn, president of Fox Interactive Media. The developers have a plate-full of issues as Sprint continued to tout the planned implementation of its Xohm WiMax deployment in mid-2008 and its recent membership in Google's Android Open Handset Alliance.

Sprint lost its chief executive back in October and its current top management executives have said a decision on the fate of its WiMax operation isn't likely to be made until a new leader is named, probably after the new year.

In the meantime, the company is moving forward on its WiMax deployment plans. On Tuesday, Beceem Communications said interoperability between Beceem's chipset based on the IEEE 802.16e-2005 standard and Sprint's Mobile WiMax device technology has been completed.

"The achievement is a very encouraging sign for the launch of our Xohm Mobile Broadband network and service in 2008," said Bin Shen, Sprint's vice president, Broadband, in a statement. While Sprint plans an official Xohm WiMax rollout next year, it is being tested in its Chicago and Baltimore test areas before that.

At the developers' conference, Sprint noted that the Xohm deployment already has a variety of commitments for WiMax access ranging from services to devices including connection cards, internet tablets, and ultramobile PCs. Although many developers were cheered by the fact the conference was held in Kansas, Sprint executives have said the company plans to maintain its headquarters in Reston, Virginia, where it consolidated its executive leadership after it acquired Nextel.

The presence of Levinsohn at the developers' conference is important because it gives a flavor of leading edge Web technology to the event. As president of Fox Interactive Media, Levinsohn oversees the firm's MySpace, FOXSports.com, Photobucket, IGN Entertainment, as well as additional Web brands.

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