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Sprint adds Nokia to WiMAX party

Sprint Nextel on Friday announced that it has picked Nokia as a “key infrastructure and consumer electronic device provider” for its 4G WiMAX mobility network.

The advanced network will, according to Sprint, be designed to allow users to experience high bandwidth mobile internet connectivity at access speeds significantly higher than today’s wireless networks.

Nokia joins Intel, Samsung and Motorola in creating the network which is expected to be live sometime late 2007. Last August, Sprint announced its selection of WiMAX (IEEE802.16e-2005) for the network which would utilise the company’s 2.5GHz spectrum assets.

Behind the technical wizardry is a serious desire to spur widespread adoption of WiMAX devices and services which Intel, in particular, has been aggressively evangelising. Barry West, Sprint Nextel president, 4G Mobile Broadband said: “Sprint Nextel is forming a world class ecosystem around mobile WiMAX technology to deliver unprecedented mobile broadband services to customers. A company of Nokia’s global stature fortifies the foundation of Sprint’s mobility vision and will help make Sprint’s WiMAX multimedia services pervasive and indispensable for customers.” The strategic relationship with Nokia involves network infrastructure, mobile device and market development commitments.

Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, President and CEO at Nokia said: “WiMAX is an ideal technology for open internet models in all major global markets. With Sprint’s leadership, the next generation network will offer innovative mobile broadband services, connecting people with content and technology in new and exciting ways.” Sprint Nextel is expecting to invest up to $800m (£414.5m) during 2007 and between $1.5bn and $2bn in 2008 on its WiMAX network.

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