Sprint Nextel is working on securing their place in 4G cellular services by announcing their plan to establish a nationwide network based on the forthcoming WiMax standard. The new technology is said to be able to deliver wireless broadband at speeds up to 70Mbps in ideal conditions, but real world estimates are significantly lower – expect about 20-50Mbps on a good day – with a range of about 5 miles, although stated range around the 30 mile mark.
Sprint is working in conjunction with Intel to develop a fully dynamic version of the technology that will allow users to move freely and still maintain a connection, just like the current hand-off systems used by cellular providers to pass subscribers from tower to tower. The network is slated for completion sometime in 2008, with retail availablity sometime after that.
The WiMax installs should be incremental for Sprint, seeing as how they already have the towers. Unfortunately, going all in on WiMax could backfire, but we can’t be sure until all the municipal area network (MAN) protocols are standardized. We shall see.
Sprint’s Boundless Ambition [Business Week]