Sprint Nextel has a reputation for launching innovative services before other wireless carriers, an approach that usually gives it an early market edge though sometimes only briefly. Now more than ever, as the company tries to do everything it can to recover from a troubled merger and poor market performance, we can expect Sprint to look for that market edge again by sticking to it innovation guns. The carrier said this week it will expand its Airave femtocell pilot program to make the home base stations available nationwide over its network, with sales of Samsung fentocells set to begin Aug. 17.
Sprint was one of many carriers worldwide conducting femtocells trials or limited pilot programs. It's broader launch will test the viability of femtocells at a time when wireline telcos continue to lose landline market traction. However, Sprint also will take an economic risk in charging for both the femtocell and the service, rather than subsidizing the femtocell.
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