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WiMAX will spur new wireless evolution

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  • WiMAX will spur new wireless evolution

    Sprint Nextel exec: WiMAX will spur new wireless evolution

    By Kelly Hill

    Story posted: June 21, 2007 - 2:30 pm EDT

    CHICAGO?WiMAX, gaining momentum domestically and globally, will serve to ?mobilize the Internet? in a way the voice-centric networks of cellular could never do, according to Barry West, president of Sprint Nextel Corp.?s 4G business unit.

    West noted that the carrier already operates a high-speed CDMA2000 1x EV-DO Revision A network, so he is often asked why the carrier needs yet another network. In a speech to attendees of the WiMAX Strategies conference as part of the NXTcomm trade show here, West envisioned a world where a powerful, reliable, low-operating-cost WiMAX data network would have the same growth-spurring effect as the introduction of cellular technology?as long as the service was affordable and usable. Indeed, West said he expects the same growth curve for WiMAX as for the early days of cellular, particularly as WiMAX becomes embedded in a variety of devices such as gaming gadgets and digital cameras.

    However, it?s not the performance of WiMAX that worries him, West said?it?s the challenges to back-office systems that come hand-in-hand, such as verifying and charging users for what they actually use.

    ?I?m worried about the back-office, I worry about new mechanisms for fraud,? he said. ?We?re working on all of that stuff now.?

    Chicago is one of the initial WiMAX trial markets that Sprint Nextel plans to soft-launch in December, with a commercial launch slated for the spring of next year. West said that companies have approached Sprint Nextel about building non-traditional wireless devices in preparation for launch.

    He mentioned a variety of industries that might benefit from WiMAX technology, including public safety, real estate, health care and transportation?and noted that momentum for the technology is growing around the world, including in China, where the country has confirmed that it will have a WiMAX network operating in time for the Beijing Olympics.