Sprint is odd-man-out in new mobile group

15 Sep 2006

The presence of US wireless carrier Sprint Nextel among the ranks of the newly inaugurated Next Generation Mobile Networks initiative (NGMN) could signal that the firm is looking to follow a new path towards cellular 4G services. Sprint is the sole CDMA operator in the new organisation, whose other members – China Mobile, KPN, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone – all offer GSM-based services. The NGMN members say they will co-operate to help develop a path from third- to fourth-generation cellular services. While GSM operators offer 3G services using W-CDMA technology, CDMA providers upgrade to high speed services via CDMA2000 1x EV-DO networks. Sprint, which recently announced plans to roll out a nationwide wireless broadband network using mobile WiMAX technology, could be looking to migrate away from the CDMA path, although at the time of its WiMAX announcement it said it was committed to maintaining its EV-DO network.