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National WiMax Network Under Development From Sprint And Clearwire

Sprint and Clearwire confirmed rumors they plan to work together on a WiMax network that will reach across the U.S. Though Clearwire has a few dozen WiMax networks up and running in several Western states, Sprint has yet to launch its first test markets. Who will benefit from th
Sprint and Clearwire confirmed rumors they plan to work together on a WiMax network that will reach across the U.S. Though Clearwire has a few dozen WiMax networks up and running in several Western states, Sprint has yet to launch its first test markets. Who will benefit from this new, larger WiMax network?According to Sprint, uh, everyone, that's who. Sprint will be launching its test markets at the end of this year, and the two companies plan to have the first of its larger WiMax network lit up in the first half of 2008. The companies have committed to covering 100 million pops by the end of 2008, with the breakdown coming in at about 70% by Sprint, 30% by Clearwire. Longer-term plans call for Sprint to focus on covering 185 million people in select geographical areas, and Clearwire will cover the remaining 115 million people in other geographical areas to blanket the entire U.S. in speedy WiMax goodness. No set time frame has been announced for that larger build out yet.

The WiMax network will offer cheaper mobile broadband for PCs and other devices equipped with WiMax radios. Interestingly, the WiMax network will run alongside Sprint's high-speed 3G EV-DO Rev. A network in the larger markets. Sprint said that it will eventually offer dual-mode roaming between its EV-DO and WiMax networks so that users will always have the best connection available.

WiMax operates at faster speeds that EV-DO and is considered by some to be a 4G technology. You have to wonder if WiMAX subscribers would cannibalize Sprint's 3G wireless broadband customers, and what Sprint's long-term plans are for its EV-DO network. The two companies will also permit subscribers to roam between the different WiMAX networks, as well.

"This arrangement will result in stronger competition in the rapidly growing market for broadband services, and will provide consumers, national enterprises and other businesses, educators and public safety agencies greater choice and faster access to a revolutionary mobile broadband technology," said Sprint Nextel Chairman and CEO Gary Forsee. "It will further our objective of delivering mobile WiMax service across the country and help fulfill our vision of delivering mobility products and services across all our networks."

The network will be called a common name and Sprint and Clearwire plan to share marketing and infrastructure resources to make the network a reality.