Sprint Nextel plans to build a high-speed wireless access network based on Mobile WiMAX (IEEE802.16e-2005) technology. The company expects to have the first part of its network operational by the end of 2007, and to create coverage encompassing nearly 100 million people by the end of 2008. The existence of the network would naturally be of benefit to Sprint Nextel’s cable partners.
Nokia will be a strategic partner in the endeavor, involved in a number of ways. Nokia will supply WiMAX network infrastructure equipment, including its Flexi WiMAX base transceiver stations.
Nokia has pledged to develop Mobile WiMAX-enabled devices, including multimedia computers and Internet tablets. Part of the deal is to have enough of the devices ready and available once Sprint Nextel’s network becomes operational. The company is also on tap to collaborate on the development of mobility services and applications.
Nokia will also be involved in co-marketing to drive market development and support global adoption to help establish worldwide roaming.
Sprint Nextel expects to invest up to $800 million in 2007 and between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in 2008 in its 4G WiMAX mobile broadband network and support systems. Sprint Nextel’s goal is to have a broad range of mobile WiMAX-enabled chipsets and modules and an array of portable data, multimedia and consumer electronics devices available from multiple vendors which work seamlessly among Sprint’s network offerings.
“Sprint Nextel is forming a world class ecosystem around mobile WiMAX technology to deliver unprecedented mobile broadband services to customers,” said Barry West, Sprint Nextel president, 4G Mobile Broadband. “A company of Nokia’s global stature fortifies the foundation of Sprint’s mobility vision and will help make Sprint’s WiMAX multimedia services pervasive and indispensable for customers.”