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Sprint Clears Motorola WiMax Gear In Chicago

Sprint Nextel has passed Motorola’s WiMax equipment in network acceptance tests in Chicago, one of the next two markets the carrier expects to launch its Xohm wireless broadband service.

Sprint launched Xohm service in Baltimore on Monday, offering download speeds of 2 to 4 megabits per second with introductory service plans ranging from $25 to $30 per month.

The wireless carrier has not said when it plans to launch commercial service in Chicago, or the other metro area in the WiMax on-deck circle, Washington, D.C.

In Chicago, Sprint has deployed nearly 600 Motorola WiMax base stations, which the companies said are now ready for commercial service.

"This is a major step toward launch readiness, and Xohm is extremely pleased with the performance of Motorola's mobile WiMax network," Atish Gude, senior vice president of mobile broadband operations for Sprint’s Xohm unit, said in a statement.

In Baltimore, Sprint launched Xohm using 180 WiMax base stations provided by Samsung Electronics.

Sprint expects to merge its WiMax operations with Clearwire in the fourth quarter to form a new company, to use the Clearwire name, that will receive additional investment from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Intel and Google.

Sprint awarded Motorola the WiMax infrastructure contract for Chicago in early 2007. The companies completed interoperability certification testing with multiple commercial device vendors in April 2008.

Motorola has 22 contracts for commercial WiMax systems with customers in 17 countries.