CTIA - Never mind that '4G' stuff, Sprint now says

Sprint's WiMax service will tap into the open Internet model, an executive said Thursday at CTIA.

Now that WiMax has been certified as a form of 3G (third-generation) mobile data infrastructure, Sprint Nextel is changing its tune about the WiMax network it plans to launch commercially in April.

Last year when Sprint was shopping around for a "4G" technology, it had a lot to say about how 4G would do something 3G networks couldn't. WiMax won out as its 4G network of choice. But in a keynote address this week at CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment in San Francisco, an executive of Sprint's WiMax business, Xohm, sang a different tune.

"I think we spend entirely too much time talking about the Gs," said Atish Gude, senior vice president of mobile broadband operations at Sprint. Last week, the Radiocommunication Sector of the International Telecommunication Union certified WiMax as a 3G technology, providing a seal of approval many governments require for carriers to deploy it. Wider deployment generally means lower equipment prices, which helps service providers.

That's not to say the carrier no longer wants to differentiate WiMax. In his presentation, Gude played up the wide band of spectrum Xohm will be able to use, which he said will cut down on delays for individual users the same way a multilane freeway can move faster than a two-lane highway even when the speed limit is the same. In the real world, a lot of people want to use the network at the same time, he said.

But more important is the business model of the two networks, Gude said, characterizing the traditional cellular business as more closed and controlled, while Xohm's business will tap into the dynamics of the open Internet. The company is opening itself up to partners for application development as well as connected devices, he said. The best known of these deals, announced in July, was an agreement with Google to develop a variety of Internet-based services.

Sprint hopes a wide range of devices, including cameras, media players and in-car electronics, ultimately will connect to the WiMax network. Instead of Sprint stores, they will be sold in the most logical places for their device types, such as consumer electronics stores. The first devices to come for Xohm next year will be wireless cards for notebook PCs, which Gude expects to be sold in the computer departments of electronics stores.

The company will also have open APIs (application programming interfaces) for third parties to develop services to run on the network. As an example, Gude envisioned a video portal that users could navigate using the five buttons traditionally found on video players. Xohm will probably charge for some of what it offers to third parties, but its aim is not to stifle innovation, he said.

Sprint isn't getting out of its cellular business now that it's starting Xohm -- which it expects to reach 100 million U.S. residents by the end of 2008 -- but seems to be looking at it in a different light now.

"We are a content distribution industry," Gude said. It's just that for most of cellular's history, all the content has been user-generated and consisted of talking.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?