Editor's Corner: The Sprint/WiMAX deal

The big news in the wireless industry is, without a doubt, Sprint's recently announced plans to deploy a WiMAX 4G network in the U.S.

Katie Fehrenbacher provides details from the conference call:

  • The service will launch at the end of 2007, with a full roll-out in 2008.
  • Speeds will be 2-4 Mbps, enough for "YouTube and MySpace on the fly."
  • Sprint will spend $2.5 billion to $3 billion on capital expenses by 2008.
  • Sprint says it choose WiMAX over Qualcomm technology due to technical reasons, among others.

The availability of high-speed WiMAX networks is more than just an incremental improvement in technology. With network connectivity approaching desktop speeds, developers will create entirely new categories of applications and users will begin to access data services in fundamentally different ways.

Inexpensive, high-speed 4G networks (coupled with next-generation mobile Web browsers and networked application platforms) will greatly accelerate the dismantling of carriers' walled gardens and move the industry toward a more open mobile Internet. Walled gardens persist in a large part because without them the mobile Internet is painfully slow and inconsistent. But with a 4G network and a slick new browser, the distinction between the "Web" and the "mobile Web" becomes much less meaningful.

Please also check out coverage of the Sprint/WiMAX deal in FierceWireless and FierceMobileContent. - Eli