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March 26, 2007

CTIA: Sprint's moves in WiMax

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 2:41 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Sprint Nextel's press conference started off today with the launch of the Samsung UpStage, but ended up touching on every aspect's of the Reston, Va., company's business.

Coupled with the UpStage launch, Sprint simultaneously announced that it will drop the price of each song downloaded over the air to 99 cents -- an industry first.

Second, its cable joint venture will be known as "Pivot."

And finally, it made some announcements related to its WiMax initiatives, which it calls its 4G network.

-- Sprint said it will partner with Samsung, ZTE and Zyxel for its WiMax devices.

-- It announced 19 new WiMax markets, including Seattle, which Atish Gude, Sprint's senior vice president of mobile broadband, put at the end of the (alphabetical) list of rollouts in 2008.

As far as I could tell, Seattle will be the only market where it will directly compete with Kirkland-based Clearwire. That should be interesting. While some people question the viability of having one WiMax provider, what will two look like?

Additionally, what makes it interesting is that previous reports said Sprint Nextel and Clearwire would work together to not duplicate efforts and roll out in different markets.

When I asked Gude about this, he had this to say:

Clearwire, who?? That's a joke. We have had a business plan for quite some time and we are diligent in following it. They [Clearwire] are following a different model -- one of fixed WiMax. We are about bringing mobility.

If I attempt decipher that very politically correct answer, I would guess that means they aren't working together at all on what markets they are rolling out.- Sprint is going one way, as planned, while Clearwire is on its own path.

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Tricia Duryee
Tricia Duryee
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