Sprint Nextel said today that it will develop a mobile Internet portal for its high-speed wireless WiMax network with Google, according to a Reuters story in The Washington Post.
The portal will offer Web services such as search, e-mail, chat and social networking.
In a press release, Barry West, Sprint’s president of mobile broadband said:
Google and Sprint will optimize the Internet experience for the digital lifestyle. This collaboration brings what will be the best mobile Internet network together with the leading Internet search company. It allows us to capitalize on the powerful mobility and Internet trends, and create wireless services and applications that take advantage of each company’s history of product development innovation.
Last week, Sprint Nextel and Kirkland-based Clearwire said they would combine their efforts to build one nationwide network instead of two competing ones.
The partnership with Google is interesting because the search giant recently has been causing quite a stir in the telecom world by pushing the FCC to require the next block of spectrum to be auctioned off to be an open network.
Today, telecom operators are the ones that approve handsets and applications to be used on the phone. In the proposal by Google, and so far somewhat supported by the FCC, a user would be able to use any device and any application.
The WiMax network that Sprint and Clearwire are building is more similar to an open network model than a telecom model.
In the press release, Sprint gives a little more detail on how the WiMax network would look.
Sprint said it will provide open standard coding, or APIs, to partners and the developer community to create new products for devices, including modem cards, stand-alone modems, laptops and personal media players, mobile Internet devices, gaming devices and phones.
Eventually, Sprint said WiMax will be available for cars to use for navigation, news and entertainment.
Commercial service is expected to be available in a number of markets starting in April 2008 and cover 100 million people by the end of 2008 through the Clearwire partnership.