Sprint Nextel to deploy nationwide WiMAX network

Sprint Nextel announced plans to deploy a fourth-generation (4G) wireless broadband network using WiMAX (IEEE 802.16e-2005) technology.

Working together with Intel, Motorola and Samsung, Sprint Nextel will develop a nationwide network infrastructure and the WiMAX-enabled chipsets needed to support advanced wireless broadband services.

According to a Sprint Nextel spokesperson, the nationwide WiMAX network will offer download speeds of 2Mb/s to 3Mb/s. Sprint Nextel will work with Intel, Motorola and Samsung to incorporate WiMAX technology into new consumer electronics devices.

While all of the ramifications are unclear, Sprint Nextel has publicly stated that it wishes to increase its role as a provider of video content for mobile devices. At the C4-Sports show in Las Vegas last month, Steve Gaffney, director of National Sports Marketing at Sprint Nextel, said the company planned to increase production of original content for the “third screen,” i.e. mobile devices. With data rates approaching DSL, WiMAX could play a critical role in delivering content, including sports, to the cell phone.

The Sprint Nextel WiMAX network will use the company’s 2.5GHz spectrum holdings, which covers 85 percent of the households in the top 100 markets in the United States, the company said. The company plans to begin deploying the WiMAX network by the end of next year and to reach as many as 100 million people with the service in 2008.