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Nextel To Launch Non-WiMAX Wireless Broadband Trials

While WiMAX wireless broadband technology edges toward widespread availability, Nextel said Wednesday that it will trial wireless broadband in the Washington, D.C. area that uses UMTS TDD technology.

The technology, championed by IPWireless, also is being deployed throughout the Czech Republic by T-Mobile and in France by Orange. Nextel previously had trialed another competing wireless broadband technology, Flarion's FLASH-OFDM, in North Carolina. Both technologies that Nextel has trialed are mobile while even pre-standard mobile WiMAX won't be available for, at the very least, a year.

"The upcoming trial in the Washington, D.C. area is an example of our commitment to evaluate the best available broadband options in order to ultimately deliver cutting-edge services for our customers," Barry West, Nextel's chief technology officer, said in a statement. "Nextel has conducted lab testing of the IPWireless technology, and this trial will allow us to test the performance and economics offered by the TD-CDMA technology in our 2.5 GHz spectrum."

Nextel said the tests will cover access by devices ranging from desktop computers to PDAs. It also will be tested as backhaul in enterprise campus settings. The company said the trial, which will begin in the third quarter of this year, won't be open to the public but, rather, will be available only to select customers.