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DoD Buying Sprint's iDEN Network
Rumored deal could be huge for cable industry
by Loker 01:10PM Thursday Oct 27 2005 Tipped by Karl Bode See Profile
User Comcast_Loke sends in this PCS Intel Blog story that indicates the Department of Defense will be buying Sprint's iDEN network as "the first phase of a national overhaul of its security framework in regards to communication." The gist is that the government will move much of its wireless communications onto one encrypted wireless network, and Sprint/Nextel customers will be issued dual-network CDMA/iDEN handsets, so that as iDEN becomes restricted, CDMA will take its place.

The report also claims that in exchange, Sprint will get plenty of spectrum in the 700 & 800Mhz bands for mobile Wimax broadband service. Keep in mind that if true, most of this wouldn't happen until around 2010, which roughly gels with Wimax analyst timeline predictions. The report claims the deal won't even be announced until 2007 or 2008.

This move makes this week's news of a Sprint co-branding wireless deal with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cox slightly more interesting. The deal would give Sprint priority access to Wimax spectrum, letting those three cable giants offer re-branded Wimax to better compete with baby Bell Wimax offerings.

This whole scenario assumes a lot; at the forefront that mobile Wimax is a solid business model. If Wimax tanks however, the report seems to indicate that Sprint's deal with Uncle Sam allows them to instead grab ample 2.5 GHz spectrum, and deploy the most popular technology at the time (like WiBro).

Either way, the cable industry would be well positioned for wireless broadband competition.

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