Sprint Nextel has selected Chicago and Washington D.C. markets as the first two U.S. metropolitan areas for deployment of its WiMax wireless broadband data service.
Motorola has been awarded the contract for the Chicago market while Samsung will deploy the WiMax infrastructure in the Washington area. Motorola will also participate in WiMax equipment and software trials at Sprint Nextel's 4G laboratory in Herndon, Va., in suburban Washington.
Sprint has said it plans to invest some $3 billion over the next two years in deploying the wide area high speed wireless technology; it refers to WiMax as its 4G, or fourth generation, network and views it as the next step after it rolls out its 3G CDMA2000 EV-DO Rev A, for which it expects to have nationwide coverage by the end of 2007,
Sprint believes its WiMax network will be the largest WiMax net in the world and, in an announcement this week, Motorola gave an idea of what's involved in the new technology when it discussed its equipment plans for the network. Motorola said "greater Chicagoland" will be served by at least 1,000 access sites that will showcase "the strength and breadth of the MOTOwi4 wireless broadband portfolio."
Motorola noted that its family of WiMax products ranges from WAP 400 series WiMax access points with MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) capabilities to WiMax desktop subscriber devices including the CPEi200 and CPEi400 series as well as WiMax PC cards.
A Sprint spokesman said Samsung is expected to announce details of its Washington area deployment later. Earlier this week, Nokia also announced that it also will participate in Sprint's WiMax deployment.