Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Sprint/Clearwire WiMax: Coming Soon?

Sprint and Clearwire have finally announced a joint venture that will establish a new company to deploy WiMax. This announcement is bound to play on the minds of customers contemplating EVDO broadband cellular service, causing them to think twice and decide it may be better to wait on WiMax than to lock themselves into a 2-year contract with EVDO.

Overall, we feel that WiMax is not likely to be a "major player" in the broadband wireless arena for more than two years, and this blogpost is to explain our opinion.

Let's start with this quote from the official press release:
"Clearwire is targeting a network deployment that will cover between 120 million and 140 million people in the U.S. by the end of 2010"
Everyone following the industry knows how often the WiMax plans have started, stopped and restarted... over the next two years, who wants to bet that there will be more news about delayed progress, new or dropped partners... etc, etc.

Even the main players are already hedging their bets. Sprint's Chief Technology Officer said this about the deployment plan:
"...our target of 120 million pops is aggressive by any standards..."
Clearwire's CEO Ben Wolff added:
"We have the capability to do it, but it's a massive under taking."
Combine these statements about WiMax coverage near end of 2010, with the fact that broadband cellular already covers more than 90% of the nation's population, and its easy to see why our opinion is that it will be 2012 or later before WiMax has anywhere near the coverage that broadband cellular has... and that presumes that the current plans, can hold together!

Of course, as a Sprint Master Agent we have a financial interest in continued EVDO sales, and we expect to offer the new WiMax service just as soon as we are able to.

When we do start selling Sprint WiMax, we promise the same high level of customer and technical support for WiMax service, that our EVDO customers have grown to expect.

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