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Sprint Partners With Google on WiMax

Kim Hart

Sprint Nextel announced today that it will be working with Google to bring web search, interactive communications and social networking tools to Sprint's WiMax Mobile Internet customers. Together, the companies plan to create a new mobile portal to use with the technology.

Sprint announced last week that it entered a long-term agreement with Clearwire to build out its nationwide WiMax network. Many analysts who have criticized Sprint's heavy investment in WiMax saw the partnership with Clearwire as a positive development because it reduces Sprint's liability on the major build-out. This appears to be another milestone for Sprint, which will be able to leverage Google's cache in the new market.

Proponents of WiMax say the technology will connect cellphones and laptops to the Internet at speeds comparable to DSL and cable modems. Unlike WiFi, which is limited to smaller areas like coffee shops and airports, WiMax will be able to cover larger distances with stronger signals.

The partnership is also one of Google's first forays into WiMax technology. Intel has backed Clearwire's WiMax efforts and is building specialized chips for computers and other devices. Manufacturers like Motorola and Samsung are helping to build the nework's infrastructure.

But some industry analysts warn that WiMax is largely untested on a national scale and may not be able to carry the capacity these companies are counting on. It seems like a risk these companies are willing to take.

Sprint plans to roll out the WiMax service in Baltimore, Washington and Chicago by the end of the year. The service is expected to be available to 100 million people across the country by the end of 2008.

By Kim Hart  |  July 26, 2007; 9:59 AM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
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