KANSAS CITY -- Sprint Nextel Corp., the nation's third-largest cellular provider, said yesterday that it will use an emerging technology called WiMax to build a high-speed wireless network.
The company said the new network, expected to be launched in some markets by late 2007, will provide customers with wireless Internet speeds on a par with DSL and cable TV modems and four times faster than speeds available on current wireless networks.
Chief executive Gary Forsee said Intel Corp. will supply equipment to build the network, while Motorola Inc. and Samsung Telecommunications America will develop WiMax-compatible phones and mobile devices.
Sprint expects to spend about $1 billion on the initiative in 2007, and between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in 2008. Forsee didn't specify to what extent the other companies might help offset Sprint's costs, saying those details will come this year when Sprint provides financial guidance for 2007.
The WiMax plan also comes as Sprint is still rolling out its third-generation cellular data network, which just last week the company said it planned to upgrade starting at the end of 2006.
The WiMax network would provide download speeds of between 2 and 4 megabits per second. That's in the same range as current typical broadband offerings over phone and cable wires, but considerably slower than the speeds those providers are starting to offer as they upgrade their networks.