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Sprint plans unified, IP-based cell network

updated 12:00 pm EDT, Thu March 20, 2008

Sprint Unified Network

Sprint intends to be one of the first carriers in the US to offer a truly unified cellular network based on the same structure as the Internet, the company's core technology VP Ben Vos said at a conference today. The provider hopes to break from the conventional use of old and new technologies at different stages of the network and will use an IP (Internet Protocol) network for its entire backbone as well as its multimedia systems. The switch will let all of Sprint's devices share a common platform and let them talk to each other the same way: programmers could write a program that works properly on Sprint's upcoming Xohm WiMAX network that behaves the same way on its CDMA or iDEN phone networks, Vos said.

The change will be crucial for Sprint, which is focusing much of its effort on data services for phones and handhelds rather than traditional calling. It would allow a cellphone and a tablet device to share the same experience for a service such as mobile Internet TV.

Other networks, such as AT&T and Verizon, are using some IP-based technology in their networks but still depend on earlier equipment said to limit the flexibility of their platforms. Both must often ask developers to adapt to different parts of their network, preventing easy support for their networks.

Vos also revealed that the Xohm network is still on track after its initial delays, having successfully undergone a "soft launch" in Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington D.C. A fuller launch is still planned for the spring, though the company notes that it will wait until it publishes its financial results for the first quarter of the year before saying how far it will expand to more areas. The company has recently undergone major job cuts and a decline in marketshare as customers switch to competing networks.

WiMAX is considered a fourth-generation (4G) cellular Internet technology by many and will be considered a key piece of Centrino 2 when it launches between May and June, shipping either standard or as an option for many notebooks.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. LordJohnWhorfin

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2002



    Nothing like a $29 *billion* quarterly loss to light a fire under your but, eh, Sprint?

  1. dliup

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006


    should go GSM

    Sprint still trying for a proprietary format (to lock in users) while the rest of the world is GSM?

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