The AP reports Sprint Nextel opened its new wireless network to customers in Baltimore on Monday, offering Internet service for laptops for $45 per month. It’s the first commercial network in the U.S. to use so-called WiMax technology for mobile customers.
“Sprint’s network carries the "Xohm" brand and provides download speeds of 2 to 4 megabits per second, slightly more than twice as fast as the current cellular broadband networks of Sprint, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA and AT&T Inc.,” said the story.
To use the network, customers need a $60 laptop card or an $80, coffee-brewer-sized home modem. Sprint expects additional devices, like a USB modem and laptops with built-in WiMax modems, to become available this year. Sprint will charge $25 per month for home access for the first six months, then $35 per month.
Xohm will be activated by users online, much like the way people sign up for Wi-Fi access at hotels. In addition to the monthly plans, Sprint will offer a day pass for $10. No contracts are required. The plan for laptops alone costs $30 per month for the first six months.
The next cities to get Xohm will be Washington and Chicago. Sprint is spinning off Xohm into a joint venture with Clearwire Corp., which already has a WiMax-like network in parts of the country. That deal is expected to close before the end of the year. Google, Intel and a group of cable companies are investing billions into the venture, which will carry Clearwire’s name, the AP said.