Sprint Moves Ahead With WiMax Service. Will Anyone Pay For It? - InformationWeek

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1/9/2008
05:44 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
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Sprint Moves Ahead With WiMax Service. Will Anyone Pay For It?

Hillary Clinton wasn't the only one who had a comeback this week. After years of waiting, it looks like Sprint is finally ready to commercially launch its mobile WiMax service, Xohm, in April this year. Will Xohm flop or should I get ready to eat some crow?

Hillary Clinton wasn't the only one who had a comeback this week. After years of waiting, it looks like Sprint is finally ready to commercially launch its mobile WiMax service, Xohm, in April this year. Will Xohm flop or should I get ready to eat some crow?The Boy Genius Report claims that Sprint's WiMax service is impressively fast:

We got to play with an OQO 2 with embedded WiMAX. The unit is cosmetically identical to the existing retail version of the OQO 2, but it sports an integrated WiMAX radio instead of the current model's EV-DO chipset. The difference, from our entirely non-scientific tests, is remarkable, with super fast download speeds. Overall, we were very impressed.

Given Sprint's announcements this week at CES, the carrier seems to have gotten over its reluctance and is ready to move forward with commercial WiMax service. I guess after years of hype and a seemingly endless list of delays, it's about time. Now will anyone actually pay for it?

That will depend on two factors: Quality of service and price. Sprint is trying to control expectations about price, warning that while WiMax won't be expensive, it won't be cheap, either. I take that to mean that Xohm pricing could be comparable to existing 3G data plans, if not slightly higher.

If Xohm is comparable to existing 3G plans, but actually offers true broadband speeds, WiMax will have a chance.

As for the quality of Xohm's network, I think Sprint's lack of comment on QoS means it knows WiMax can live up the hype in terms of speed and network connections. If both of these factors are in place, WiMax could be this year's wireless comeback kid.

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