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Sprint Promises WiMax 'Momentum'

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is using its time at the WiMax World show in Chicago to talk up the "momentum" behind its nationwide WiMax network, which is due to come online in several cities at the end of this year.

Sprint's CTO Barry West, who leads the XOHM WiMax initiative, says that one of the most important signs that the effort is moving forward is that Sprint's partners are readying WiMax-capable embedded devices. West tells Unstrung that he expects both Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) to have gadgets ready for the official launch of the network.

Nokia is working on a WiMax version of its N95 tablet. Motorola, meanwhile, is promising WiMax mobile phones in 2008. The firm has been showing off the chipset that will be used in these devices at the show. (See WiMax: The Chips Are Up.)

All manner of embedded devices are a large part of Sprint's plan to push WiMax for the masses. The Reston, Va.-based carrier has commitments from partners to deliver 50 million embedded WiMax devices in the U.S. -- everything from phones and PCs to TVs. (See Sprint's Ready to XOHM Out.)

Motorola will also be working to deploy one of the initial WiMax networks in Chicago. West anticipates that the network, along with those in Washington and Baltimore, will launch in December 2007.

"This time next year we'll have 20 markets ready," West boasts. The operator's stated aim is to cover 100 million potential customers by the end of 2008.

The operator said recently that it will spend $2.5 billion through 2008 deploying WiMax. It has partnered with Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) to help with the deployment of a massive mobile WiMax network in the U.S.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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