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January 23, 2007 at 12:26 PM

Sprint is taking down the walls

InfoWorld reported more details on Sprint’s WiMax plans today from an industry event in San Jose.

At Wireless Communications Association Symposium, Atish Gude, Sprint’s senior vice president of mobile broadband operations, said the business model for WiMax will differ from that of the cellular model.

So far, Sprint has said little about how the service will be tailored and priced, likely because test markets won’t be ready until the end of the year.

Still, messages from the carrier sounds as if Sprint is aiming for an open model that will allow subscribers to go anywhere on the Internet. Right now, wireless carriers tend to take a “walled garden” approach, where users can access only certain services provided by the operator.

But the carrier still hasn’t decided on how open WiMax will be. For instance, InfoWorld reported that it might make more sense to limit access on some hardware platforms, such as gaming devices without keyboards.

As for price, Sprint still hasn’t worked out the details, but broadband Internet access is generally priced at $35 to $40 a month, and Sprint believes mobility could carry a premium of $10 to $15.

One subscription could cover multiple devices, but would require an additional fee.

DSLreports.com also noted that Sprint’s download speeds will be 2 to 4 megabits per second, comparable to cable broadband.

Those speeds, prices and applications are much different than what Kirkland-based Clearwire currently is selling with its WiMax-like equipment. For starters, it is offering a stationary service for now that acts more as a broadband replacement. At around $37 a month, subscribers can get download speeds of about 1.5 Mbps.

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