BALTIMORE -- Forget about 3G -- that's the past.It's now time to consider 4G wireless networks, especially the kind announced here on Wednesday. Sprint ( S) and partners Intel ( INTC), Samsung, Motorola ( MOT), Nokia ( NOK), Nokia Siemens Networks, ZTE and ZyXEL, along with computer makers Acer, Asus, Dell ( DELL), Lenovo, Panasonic, Sony ( SNE) and Toshiba, officially inaugurated the world's first 4G network called Xohm (pronounced Zome). It runs on a new technology called WiMax.
Overall, that's pretty amazing for a wireless network. I'm hoping that as more and more users come online, the speeds don't deteriorate too much. We were told that prices would start out being competitive with other high-speed Internet services such as cable, DSL and fiber. They will also offer "daily rates" for people traveling to Xohm-blessed cities. As for hardware, there will be built-in Xohm wireless cards in a bunch of laptops in the near future -- as well as plug-in USB modems for older computers. We even got to see an indoor modem, which can replace your current high-speed connection, providing service for your entire home (via ethernet or wi-fi). Overall, in the limited demonstration, Xohm was impressive. I can't wait until I'm able to perform my own tests -- especially a long-term workout with the service. Although, it may take a while until Samsung (they have the contract) gets around to building the New York system, I hope it happens before a competition 4G protocol called LTE makes it to the Big Apple.