Sprint, Google Partner on WiMAX For Mobile Web


In a deal that symbolizes the incorporation of new Web-based services on
mobile phones, Sprint said today that it is working with
Google to bring WiMAX mobile Internet
customers search, collaboration and social-networking tools through a new
mobile portal.


Specifically, Sprint’s network bandwidth, location detection and presence
capabilities will be paired with Google’s Apps communications suite, which
includes the Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Talk services and are offered to
customers over a Web portal.


The goal is to “untether” Internet services for all Sprint customers, giving
them speedy access to faster Web browsing, GPS services (such as the
“find-a-friend” service from Sprint’s deal
with loopt) and multimedia such as music and video from their mobile phones.


To facilitate its mobile Web services for WiMAX, Sprint said it will provide
open APIs to go-to-market partners such as Google and the
Internet developer community so they may customize products for Web-enabled
devices.


These services will be available in connection cards, stand-alone modems,
laptop computers, personal media players, mobile Internet devices, gaming
devices and phones.


The collaboration comes a week after Sprint partnered
with Clearwire to facilitate a WiMAX network for 300 million consumers. The
company plans to test WiMAX service in the Chicago, Baltimore and Washington
D.C. areas by the end of 2007.


WiMAX , which operates more than five times faster than
today’s wireless networks, can allow workers to conduct live video
conferences from remote locations, or let consumers play whole movies via
laptops, mobile phones and other handheld devices.


The deal with Google speaks to Sprint’s desire to best AT&T and Verizon Wireless by providing speedy
new collaboration tools from the most highly used application vendors to its
millions of customers.


Meanwhile, Google gets a huge foot into the wireless world, where it’s looking to be the mobile application vendor of choice over
Microsoft , Yahoo and AOL.


The four service providers are aggressively competing for advertising
dollars derived from search and are targeting the mobile device realm to tap
into new revenue streams.

The deal also comes days after Google pledged to
shell out a a minimum of $4.6 billion to bid on spectrum in the January 700
megahertz auction. That offer is contingent on the FCC approving rules
allowing consumers to connect any legal devices and run any legal
application on the network, something wireless operators have been loath to
allow.

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