Sprint's Xohm is ready to unwire Baltimore

Baltimore, a city that served as the gritty locale for HBO's underrated drama, "The Wire," is the first market to go live with Sprint Nextel's Xohm WiMAX broadband wireless service which, if it succeeds, will wean high-speed data users from wired devices.

While the carrier has a dog-and-pony show planned with its vendors in the Harbor City Oct. 8, it's already making the service available to customers who can buy computer plug-ins via the telephone or online and visit a Web site to pay for the service. Even more intriguing, considering the hoopla around the Oct. 8 activities, reports say consumers can begin accessing the network as soon as they install the devices, meaning today.

The Baltimore launch is the first in a nationwide network Sprint Nextel announced before it decided it would devour its WiMAX compatriots at Clearwire and form the new Clearwire. That joint venture, which also includes some cable heavyweights like Comcast and Time Warner, along with Intel and Google, is expected to become reality by the end of this year and begin operations early next year. Xohm is ready in Baltimore and surrounding Baltimore County now with about half the network completed. The carrier is also pushing ahead in Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, Providence, R.I., Philadelphia and Dallas-Fort Worth.

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