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WiMAX comes to Lone Star state

Finnish vendor Nokia said Wednesday that it has been tapped by Sprint Nextel to deliver mobile WiMAX kit to four Texas markets as part of the US carrier’s initial build out.

Nokia will deploy WiMAX infrastructure, including its Flexi WiMAX Base Station, at sites throughout the four Texas markets in Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.

Sprint Nextel’s soft launch of two 802.16e mobile WiMAX networks is planned for the fourth quarter of this year in Chicago and Washington, DC, with Motorola and Samsung, respectively, supplying infrastructure.

Service is expected to commence in the Texas markets during the first half of 2008 and Sprint’s mobile WiMAX network is intended to cover 100 million people nationwide by the end of 2008.

The initial deployments are expected to use Wave 1 certified equipment rather than equipment with the 802.16e Wave 2 feature set, which covers the PHY and MAC layers and includes support for beamforming and multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) technology. However, Sprint Nextel expects its early networks will be upgradeable via software once Wave 2 certification is available.

The WiMAX Forum says Wave 2 certification will occur before year end 2007, but some industry insiders say that could be pushed back by 12 months or more.

Nonetheless, Sprint Nextel’s thrust ahead with its vision of WiMAX-powered 4G is being watched within interest by the industry. The company itself has already set aside $1.1bn in investment capital for this year.

In addition to supplying Sprint Nextel with WiMAX network infrastructure, Nokia will also develop WiMAX-enabled mobile devices, including multimedia computers and internet tablets, which are expected to be available in 2008.

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  • Nokia Corporation


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