Sprint Nextel has launched its first commercial mobile WiMAX services in Baltimore, marking the first steps of what will eventually become one of the world’s largest wireless broadband networks. Sprint’s Xohm service is going head-to-head with fixed broadband technologies such as xDSL and cable, with the cellular operator offering an introductory rate of USD25 a month for a home connection (normal price USD35 a month), and USD30 a month for a mobile broadband service (usually USD45 a month). Data cards are being offered for USD59.99 while modems cost USD79.99. Additional WiMAX-capable devices from the likes of Nokia and ZTE are scheduled to be available by year-end. Sprint is expecting to deliver average download speeds of between 2Mbps and 4Mbps, which is on a par with mid-range DSL and cable products. The Baltimore launch is being followed by switch-ons in Chicago and Washington DC by the end of this year, with networks also in deployment in Dallas/Fort Worth, Boston, Philadelphia and Providence. Sprint has formed a joint venture with another wireless ISP, Clearwire, which will see the two firms unite their respective WiMAX networks once regulatory approval has been given.