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As a wireless data standard that operates on the 2.5GHz frequency band, WiMAX can achieve speeds of up to 10Mbps over a span of 10 kilometers in some areas. The Baltimore WiMAX network will have much more modest speeds to start out topping out with download speeds in the 2M to 4Mbps range.
Sprint’s high-speed wireless data service, which is being officially offered by its XOHM business unit, will let customers connect to the network for a single monthly charge that will cover multiple devices for every user. Users have the option of paying $25 a month for home wireless Internet service, paying $30 a month for an “on-the-go” service that will give them access to data wherever WiMAX is available, or paying $50 a month for a service that covers two WiMAX devices. Users who don’t wish to subscribe to the service can purchase $10 "day passes" that will give them temporary access to the high-speed wireless network.
Sprint says that customers who want to connect their PCs to the WiMAX network can purchase XOHM-branded Samsung Express air cards for $59.99 and ZyXEL modems for $79.99 from either XOHM’s Web site or from select local retailers. Sprint also says that it expects more WiMAX devices to be on sale by year-end, including the ZTE USB modem, the Intel Centrino 2 WiMAX PC and the Nokia N810 WiMAX edition.
Sprint’s WiMAX launch in Baltimore coincides with the WiMAX World convention being held this week in Chicago, where vendors
such as Motorola, Intel, Nortel, Samsung, Huawei, Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent will show off their WiMAX gear.
Sprint currently plans to launch WiMAX commercially this year in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. The company is working with its partners in the Clearwire coalition to build out a nationwide WiMAX network that will cover both urban and rural areas. Sprint and Clearwire teamed up earlier this year to create a $14.5 billion WiMAX venture that secured investments from several major tech and communications companies, including Google, Intel, Comcast, Time-Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.
Read more about wireless & mobile in Network World's Wireless & Mobile section.