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Sprint Nextel envisages WiMax as Internet-based not cellular-based

Atish Gude, who is Senior Vice-President of Mobile Broadband Operations at Sprint Nextel, took the opportunity of the Wireless Communications Association Symposium in San Jose, California to set out his stall: 3G means taking a cell phone and putting more data on it, 4G is an Internet data service from the start. There is, in addition, a commercial-user orientation to Sprint Nextel's model for WiMax. This is because cellular services, in Sprint Nextel's opinion, restrict the services available to the subscriber from the mobile operator - an example of what is called the 'walled garden' effect.

Sprint Nextel claims to be offering something less restrictive - the entire Internet is open to subscribers. Of course, there is that question often asked at the start of any major development - whether the company is in a position to offer the entire range of services from the start or whether it should introduce such services gradually.


The address by Atish Gude to the Wireless Communications Association Symposium proved a very useful opportunity for many WiMax questions to be answered by a senior executive heavily involved with this technology. It was revealed that Sprint Nextel?s policy is to take a 3G device and offer WiMax as an option which promises lower costs and higher speeds. It was also disclosed that Sprint Nextel's 4G footprint will cover a smaller area of the USA than will that of 3G.

More detailed questions examined VoIP. Here, Atish Gude believes that multimedia devices will be able to offer it, but subscribers should not count on it as a dedicated service in its own right.

There were also the unanswered questions. WiMax will have a different pricing regime from 3G - but Sprint Nextel is not absolutely sure of its exact details. On a broad scale Atish Gude is looking towards several forms of subscription to cover a range of devices. Add or remove a device and you add or remove its cost from your account, i.e., you the subscriber manage your own account. Another account could be for unlimited services although as downloaders on broadband will recognise, there may well be a limit as to what is reasonable use.

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