Cable industry partner Sprint Nextel has embraced the mobile WiMAX standard as its next-generation wireless platform, announcing on Tues that it will spend $1bln in 2007 and $1.5bln-$2bln in 2008 to deploy the cutting-edge technology. The company will work with longtime WiMAX proponents Intel and Motorola to incorporate chipsets into new consumer- electronics devices, and with Samsung to deploy infrastructure across its network. Mobile WiMAX is part of the 802.xx series of IEEE standards, whose 802.11 iteration is the basis of WiFi. But while WiFi "hotspots" only extend a few hundred feet from their base and are designed for stationary users, mobile WiMAX’s 802.16 standard potentially enables coverage over several square miles and is designed for users on the go. Sprint Nextel’s bet on WiMAX could create new possibilities for its MSO jv partners Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox and Advance/Newhouse-all anxious to offer mobile multimedia to their subscribers. Then again, WiMAX technology is largely untested in the marketplace. Motorola chmn/CEO Ed Zander, however, predicted Sprint Nextel’s decision "will influence the adoption of mobile WiMAX by other carriers worldwide."

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