Yesterday, Sprint formally announced the long anticipated plans for a Fourth Generation (4G) broadband wireless network using the company’s 2.5GHz licensed spectrum. Sprint had already committed to launching advanced services using the spectrum as part of gaining approval of the merger of Sprint and Nextel a year ago. So the real news yesterday was the choice of WiMax (802.16) as the technology to be used for the network, key partnerships with Intel, Motorola, and Samsung, and that trials would launch by the end of 2007.
In the announcement, Sprint CEO Gary Forsee acknowledges the impact of mobility on our lives and our businesses: “None of us today can envision our lives without wireless connectivity or the Internet.”
KiTae Lee, president of Samsung’s Telecommunications Network Business explained how Sprint’s technology choice will help further extend the impact of mobility on the world: “I believe Sprint Nextel’s decision to deploy Mobile WiMAX as the 4G network technology will set a milestone in the U.S. telecommunication industry’s history and contribute to further advancements in wireless technology. Mobile WiMAX has the fastest data transfer rate among the existing wireless technologies and is based on all-IP technology. Mobile WiMAX-based services will create a new paradigm shift in wireless services and improve consumer lifestyles. I believe that Sprint Nextel will successfully provide this mobile WiMAX technology based service and begin a new revolution in mobile broadband services nationwide.”
But, what does that revolution look like?
In short, it is mobility being built into every product, every service, and every process, thereby creating tremendous value for the consumers of those products and services, and for the businesses that provide them.
In the simplest example, yesterday’s announcement pointed to building WiMax bandwidth into consumer electronics products. As RCR Wireless News reported in their coverage of the event: “One key element of the strategy is to have the chipsets embedded in a variety of consumer electronics devices. During a conference call with analysts, Sprint Nextel Chief Executive Officer Gary Forsee described chipsets potentially being embedded in portable game stations, video cameras, MP3 players and vehicle navigation systems to provide wireless connectivity for those items—and potential new revenue streams for Sprint Nextel.”
BusinessWeek apparently recently interviewed Atish Gude, Sprint’s chief strategy officer, who also provided key insights into the impact of this announcement on building mobility into products and into our lives: “It will be a life-changing event for the customer to have control and connectivity…. [the] ability to enable the iPod to connect anywhere, anytime is a very powerful concept… We’re not creating new trends but we’re enabling them in a different way.”
The Motley Fool gets it (although perhaps going a bit overboard…): “I’ve come to believe that as computer chips move beyond cell phones and laptops to become embedded throughout our environment — even in our bodies — WiMAX’s type of ubiquitous communication will come to be viewed as an essential element for navigating, prospering in, and surviving in tomorrow’s brave new world.”
Welcome to this brave new world.
Stay tuned here at law-of-mobility.com to watch it unfold before your eyes and to stay on the cutting edge of capturing the power and managing the danger of mobility.