Staking Out WiMAX

After Sprint Nextel, other carriers have announced that they also plan to venture into WiMax. According to TeleGeography Research, over 200 operators worldwide are now testing the technology or have deployed commercial WiMax networks, with the most recent being Horizon Wi-Com and CTC Telcom in the U.S., the national Hellenic Telecommunications Organization in Greece, and several operators in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Still, all eyes remain on Sprint and its mobile WiMax plans, which would cost $1.1 billion in 2007. The company has chosen Samsung equipment and handsets for its initial service in Washington DC while Motorola will provide the infrastructure and handsets in Chicago, both of which are due to be launched by the end of 2007. Nokia, meanwhile, will supply the equipment and phones in an unspecified location. Sprint clarified that it is still open to signing a smaller contract with another vendor in the future.

Bin Shen, Sprint’s vice president of broadband, said the company expects the service to attain commercial viability in 2008. By the end of the said year, network coverage is projected to reach at least 100 million people.
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