After a few false starts, Sprint finally plans to begin consumer trials of its WiMAX networks this fall, according to a report by Telephony Online. The trials will kick off in September in Baltimore, Maryland, and they'll follow in Chicago and Washington, D.C. "before the end of the year."
Telephony Online says Sprint actually deployed WiMAX networks in those areas last year just before Christmas, but it has only run employee trials since then. Plans to start commercial trials early this year and to follow with a "full commercial launch" in the second quarter reportedly fell through.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse announced the new commercial trial plans at the NXTcomm08 conference in Las Vegas, where he also played up the advantages of WiMAX over the alternatives. Hesse claimed the industry can't match today's wireless capacity demand with existing 3G networks, and only 4G or WiMAX can provide the necessary bandwidth at a low enough cost. Hesse also said he believes WiMAX networks should support "more than just traditional handset and laptop connections." He mentioned WiMAX-connected digital cameras, music players, and car navigation systems or stereos as examples.