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Sprint remains on track for 2008 WiMAX launch

Despite the recent break up of its WiMAX joint venture with Clearwire, US carrier Sprint Nextel remains on track for a commercial launch of the wireless broadband technology next year.

Sprint is soft launching its WiMAX network in three markets between now and Christmas, with several hundred employees testing the network over data cards.

After initial trials in Chicago, Baltimore and Washington D.C. get under way, Sprint will expand the soft launch to more markets early in 2008, ahead of a planned commercial introduction later in the year.

Speaking at the company’s analyst and investor day earlier this month, CFO and acting CEO, Paul Saleh, said that he still expected Xohm to deliver a “path to new revenue growth”.

At its 7th Annual Developer Conference, which kicked off in Kansas on Thursday, Kevin Packingham, vice president of wireless product management for Sprint, said: “Each year we bring together hundreds of developers so that they have a clear understanding of the most current information on exciting products, including the latest phones and, this year, our upcoming Xohm products and services.”

At the developer conference the company issued a statement saying that as part of its planned 2008 commercial availability of Xohm, “Sprint has commitments from ecosystem partners for WiMAX network access on new and innovative devices, including connection cards, internet tablets, ultramobile PCs and other consumer electronic devices.”

The announcement appears to be an attempt at soothing the concerns of those companies involved in the Xohm ecosystem. The recent departure of chief executive and chairman, Gary Forsee, and the termination of obligations regarding the WiMAX build out partnership between Clearwire and Sprint have cast clouds over the future of the deployment.


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