Sprint launches netbook deal, expands WiMax coverage

Sprint-Nextel Corp. made waves in the wireless data market today by announcing both the availability of its first netbook and the continued expansion of its WiMax network.

(Netbooks: Are they ready for the enterprise?

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On the netbook front, Sprint is offering the Dell Inspiron Mini 10 netbook designed to run on its 3G EV-DO Rev. A network. The netbook is initially being sold in the San Francisco area for $199.99 along with a two-year mobile data service agreement and a $100 mail-in rebate. Sprint says that its EV-DO Rev. A network produces average download speeds of between 600Kbit/sec. and 1.4Mbit/sec. and average upload speeds of between 350Kbit/sec. and 500Kbit/sec.

Some of the Inspiron Mini 10’s key features include an Intel Atom Processor, a 1.3 megapixel Web camera and a 160GB hard drive. The netbook weighs in at 2.6 pounds and is only 1.1 inches thick. Sprint is offering a data plan for the netbook that will give users 5GB of data for $59.99 per month.

On the WiMax front, Sprint has expanded its WiMax coverage to 10 new cities, most notably in Chicago, Dallas and Charlotte. Sprint has been aggressively rolling out its network all year, as earlier this year it launched services in Las Vegas, Atlanta and Portland, Ore. Other major cities due to get WiMax from Sprint later this year are Honolulu, Philadelphia and Seattle.

The current incarnation of Sprint’s WiMax division, known as Clear, came into being last year, when Clearwire and Sprint combined their WiMax businesses to create a new $14.5 billion mobile broadband company. In addition to forming their new joint WiMax venture, the two companies secured $3.2 billion in total investments from several major tech and communications companies, including Google, Intel, Comcast, Time-Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

Under the strategic investment agreement signed by the companies, Sprint owns the largest stake in the new company at 51%, Clearwire owns about 27% of the company, and the group of five major investors owns 22%. The company first launched its WiMax services commercially in Baltimore last September.

This story, "Sprint launches netbook deal, expands WiMax coverage" was originally published by Network World.

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