Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sprint/Nextel, WiMax, and Moto

It says here that Sprint and Nextel, after the merger, will transition their iDEN customers to CDMA. That means a lot of smart Motorola wireless techies will need something else to do.

It says here that Sprint expects to someday build a network using its 2.5 GHz spectrum, which is reported to cover 85% of the US population and is covered by one of the first WiMax profiles to be available.

It says here that Motorola has "expanded its strategic focus to bring comprehensive WiMax (802.16e) solutions quickly to market," including "increased R&D (and) resources."

Seems to me that Motorola has decided to take the lemons from the Sprint/Nextel merger and make itself some lemonade. And it seems that they're the team to beat to grab Sprint's mobile broadband wireless business, whenever Sprint does decide to build something. Consider:
  1. Sprint is going to be looking for a mobile broadband wireless technology, not a DSL replacement. When Moto talks WiMax in the US, they mean 802.16e mobile.
  2. Both Sprint and Nextel have bought Motorola, and existing purchaser relationships can mean a lot.
  3. Motorola can show Sprint a solid corporate commitment to WiMax; Sprint's other two major vendors (Lucent and Nortel), not so much. Lucent is reselling Alvarion's WiMax line; Nortel is partnering with LG Electronics.
You've got to like the idea of a network supporting tri-mode devices that'll switch between WiFi (spotty coverage, high bandwidth), WiMax (wide coverage, moderate bandwidth), and EV-DO (ubiquity, lower bandwidth), depending on what's available.