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Sprint & Google: Max Headroom

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) says it may tap Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) for more than just Web portal applications for its WiMax network, which is due to launch nationwide in April.

"We are exploring other avenues with them," a Sprint spokesman tells Unstrung, without offering any further details.

The pair have teamed up to develop a co-branded mobile Internet portal that will let users access email, search the Web for local attractions, and chat over the wireless broadband connection. The applications will be available in beta during the first quarter of 2008 and ready for commercial launch in April, according to Sprint.

"We want Sprint to be the name you think of when you think of the mobile Internet," the spokesguy says. [Ed note: I normally think of endless, nameless horror when I think of the present-day mobile Web, but... whatever...]

Unstrung predicted back in May that Google would get involved with Sprint's WiMax plans. Sprint has already said it is examining its options on how to pay for its 2008 WiMax deployment, and to that end is now jointly working with Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) to build out the network. (See GooMax and Clearwire & Sprint Team on WiMax.)

Google, of course, has been in the news for its renewed interest in wireless broadband during the past week. The search giant proposed a $4.6 billion bid for 700MHz spectrum if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agrees to some "open access" conditions. This doesn't now seem likely to gain approval. (See Heated Debate on 700MHz Continues.)

Google is also rumored to be carrying out its own WiMax tests in Mountain View, Calif. These, however, are mainly concerned with backhauling data off its mesh WiFi network. (See Should Google Go WiMax?) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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