Sprint Nextel, the third-largest wireless services provider in the United States, said last week that it would build a new network based on WiMax, a high-speed data technology that’s five times faster than current wireless systems.
Sprint said it would spend about $3 billion during the next two years to build the new national broadband Internet network infrastructure. WiMax technology, which has been aggressively backed by Intel, works while connected users are in motion.
Motorola and Samsung will manufacture the network infrastructure equipment for Sprint. Intel will build the semiconductors and wireless circuits for the mobile handsets, computers and other devices that will connect to the Sprint network.
The Sprint choice of the Intel-backed technology was considered a setback for Qualcomm, a promoter of competing FLASH-OFDM and OFDMA wireless technologies.
“This is definitely a big victory for Intel and all the others on the WiMax side,” Charles Golvin, a wireless analyst at Forrester Research, told The New York Times. “To get Sprint to commit gives tremendous credibility to WiMax.”
Intel has promoted the vision of a global wireless high-speed Internet network that works on a single open standard. That is opposed to traditional cellular networks that use incompatible technologies and proprietary systems.
Sprint said it hoped to launch the network by late 2008, serving one-third of the U.S. population.