Motorola, Sprint to Push Mobile WiMax Forward

The companies will jointly test base station equipment, smart antenna technology and wireless handsets using the mobile version of WiMax.

Sprint Corp. and Motorola Inc. said Thursday that they would work together to develop the nomadic or mobile version of WiMax, known as 802.16e.

Under the terms of the agreement, Motorola will develop and provide wireless radio technology, IP core switching and wireless devices, including handsets, to Sprint. Sprint, which has also signed a deal with Intel Corp. to help develop the technology, is investigating WiMax as a next-generation wireless service offering.

Both companies will jointly test base station equipment, smart antenna technology and multimedia handsets, conducting field trials in undisclosed locations in 2005 and 2006. If successful, the technology will be marketed to customers. Currently, the agreement covers just the licensed 2.5GHz spectrum technology available for use in the United States.

While Intel is committed to both the fixed (802.16d) and mobile (802.16e) versions of WiMax, Motorolas intentions are to focus solely on the 802.16e mobile technology, according to Dan Coombes, Motorolas senior vice president of wireless broadband networks and chief technology officer of Motorola Networks.

Coombes indicated that the WiMax technology will be kept separate from Canopy, Motorolas existing unlicensed wireless network technology. Motorolas WiMax products will cover the licensed spectrum, Coombes said.

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