RealTime IT News

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.