Top executives at Sprint Nextel’s top executives are to name its ambitious WiMax service “Xohm.”

“We are pursuing a new business model that is Internet-based, not telecom-based, and therefore will establish a new service brand,” to be called Xohm, said Sprint spokesman John Polivka, in an email.

Polivka said the name Xohm rhymes with “home,” started with a “Z” sound. “It is a product of extensive research,” he added. “The X-factor makes it cool, research says.”

Polivka said Sprint’s pact with Google, announced in July, to collaborate on Internet services over the new WiMax network “is a significant proof point of [our] Internet strategy, and it is our intent to be not just a portal but a destination as we mobilise the Internet.”

Sprint has a long reputation for giving unusual names to services, reaching back many years to services such as ION, an acronym for Integrated On-demand Network.

However, the announcement for Xohm is clearly more than just a new name. Sprint’s investment in WiMax is considered critical to its future and analysts have noted Sprint’s huge investment in the wireless technology, as it evolves beyond traditional wireless and wired service offerings.

Announced a year ago, Sprint said it was investing about $3 billion in a WiMax-based network, although its share of that total might have been changed by the partnerships with Google and others.

In addition to the Google collaboration, Sprint and Clearwire announced an agreement to build the WiMax network in the US. The two companies said they plan to reach 100 million US customers by the end of 2008, including businesses, consumers, government and public safety agencies.

Sprint will build about 65 percent of the network, and Clearwire the remaining 35 percent. The partnership allows Sprint to invest less money to create a nationwide network, CEO Gary Forsee said at the time.

Sprint executives expect their WiMax network to provide speeds at three to four times that of 3G wireless networks, somewhere in the range of 2Mbits/s to 4Mbits/s. WiMax also operates over licensed spectrum, with fewer access points in a given area than Wi-Fi, which is unlicensed spectrum.