updated 03:00 pm EST, Tue December 11, 2007
Sprint WiMAX This Week
Sprint removed some concerns about its wireless projects today and confirmed the initial rollout of Xohm, one of the first true networks using Intel's fourth-generation WiMAX technology. The plans reiterate the carrier's plan to soft-launch its 4G service and will quietly make available networks in downtown Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.; new to the announcement is word that the provider will expand based on existing cellular traffic, building out the WiMAX service based on customers already making heavy use of Sprint's existing services. About 100 million Americans will be within range of WiMAX by the end of 2008.
The statement reflects off-hand comments from company VP Bin Shen and echoes his explanation of what devices will be usable on the long-range network, which promises megabit-plus speeds similar to a land-based DSL connection. Early users will have to use notebook adapter cards but will eventually have the choice of cellphones and ultra-mobile PCs with WiMAX built-in. Any device on the network will not be inherently locked to the network, Sprint spokesman John Polivka says.
Previous doubts have emerged after the forced ouster of company chief Gary Forsee earlier this year, which was followed by claims that Sprint may spin off its WiMAX and that it would end a deal with Clearwire that would have helped share and grow each company's respective WiMAX networks.