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CTIA: Sprint reveals WiMAX details


ORLANDO--Sprint today took some of the wraps off its WiMAX plans, announcing more specifics about its rollout plans and named its initial device vendors: Samsung, ZTE and ZyXel. It also officially launched its integrated cable/mobile service bundle, naming the new co-brand service Pivot.

Sprint said at CTIA Wireless 2007 that ecosystems partners Samsung, ZTE and ZyXel will build the first PC modem cards for the WiMAX network. Samsung will provide both standalone WiMAX PC cards and dual-mode CDMA 1X EV-DO/WiMAX PC cards, while ZTE will supply multiple WiMAX modem devices in express PC card and USB form factors. ZyXel was named a vendor but for no specific products.

Samsung has a long relationship with Sprint, being one of the carrierís prime handset and device vendors and one of the primary ecosystem partners for the carrierís WiMAX network, but the deal is specifically significant for ZTE, which to date has not landed a device deal with any U.S. carrier. Sprintís other main ecosystem partners, Motorola and Nokia were absent from the list of initial vendors, but neither is traditionally a laptop wireless card maker, while Samsung has partnered with CPE chip maker Beceem to create its card line.

Sprint said it plans to have 100 million people covered with the WiMAX network by year end 2008 and to launch commercial service before April of next year. Sprintís vendors are currently building the first trial networks of its footprint, which will eventually become Sprintís first commercial WiMAX markets: Samsung in Washington, D.C.; Motorola in Chicago; and Nokia in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio, Texas.

The name for Sprintís co-branded wireless services with cable joint venture partners Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Advance Newhouse will be Pivot, though Sprint did not reveal any new applications aside from the handful it has launched with its cable partners in the previous few months. The Pivot platform offers integrated e-mail across both the cable broadband and Vision platforms, a unified voicemail box, special calling plans between home VoIP lines and handsets as well as channel guide customers can access remotely from a mobile phone. The Sprint/cable JV has also begun packaging its Sprint TV streaming video service with the cable plans, creating a link between the cable operatorsí TV programming and mobile TV.

Sprint said it plans to have Pivot available in 40 markets by the end of the year.


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