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Nokia WiMax Joins Sprint Nextel Wireless Network

The handheld device, which has a 4.13-inch touch screen, is the device Spring is betting on for its WiMax high-speed services.

WiMax promises to deliver mobile Web links that are five times faster than today’s speeds. Like the first N810, which went on sale in the fall, the new version will also work on Wi-Fi, a short range wireless technology used in hotspots such in coffee shops.

“The difference with WiMax is that you can move out of that hotspot,” said Mark Louison, head of Nokia’s North American business.

Sprint, which has been seeking outside funding to extend WiMax beyond an initial three markets, has promised to open the network to a wide array of devices, such as music players or cameras, which consumers could buy from any retail store.

Nokia, the world’s largest mobile phone maker, has trailed Motorola Inc and Samsung Electronics in the United States as it has won little business with US carriers, which tightly control the regional phones that work on their networks.

There has been uncertainty about the future of WiMax. Sprint, which is losing customers from its existing service, said it is re-examining its commitment to spend $5 billion on WiMax by 2010.

Sprint and Clearwire Corp, a smaller WiMax provider, are in talks to combine their WiMax assets in a venture that will offer investments to Comcast Corp, Intel Corp and Google Inc.