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CES: Sprint's in the XOHM

LAS VEGAS -- CES -- Ignoring the naysayers, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is using the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to reveal more details around its full-scale commercial WiMax launch, which is due at the end of April 2008.

The Reston, Va.-based operator today unveiled a partnership with Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX) for developing and managing the XOHM WiMax portal. The operator has also lined up an ad agency for the launch and appeared with AsusTek Computer Inc. and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) to promote the wireless broadband technology here at the show.

During the show so far, Unstrung has spoken with the XOHM business president, Barry West, and senior vice president, Atish Gude, about how the WiMax service is now shaping up after a rough-and-tumble 2007:

A WiMax spinoff?
Gude still isn't ruling out the possibility of the WiMax unit being spun off from the CDMA operator but he isn't ruling it in either.

"There are no definite anything's right now," he says. "We'll do anything it takes to get this growing faster."

Gude says that the unit's separate branding and logo is a deliberate attempt to separate the WiMax business from Sprint proper. "This has to look like an Internet experience -- we don't want to lock people into contracts or subsidize devices."

WiMax applications and services
"I use it to access the Internet," says West. "I've become a great YouTube fan. I used to read a book but now I just surf YouTube. I love the amateur videos on there. There's a great one of otters holding hands, have you seen that one?"

Open Access
West says that Sprint's WiMax plans were open-access long before the term acquired such cachet in the last couple of months of 2007. "I'd like to think people were listening to us," the WiMax boss says.

"Anybody can buy any device they like and get on the network." he says. "You can even download Skype if you like."

Stay tuned for more WiMax tidbits later.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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