updated 05:30 pm EDT, Wed June 20, 2007
Sprint seeking WiMax help?
A change in plans suggested by Sprint may have significant impact on mobile broadband in the United States. The company's VP for global broadband strategy, Don Stroberg, is now saying that it is investigating options for a joint venture or spin-off of its WiMax division, which would offer a two-fold advantage. The first is a "coordinated, cohesive use of the 2.5 spectrum," as both Sprint and Clearwire are planning to build nationwide networks, possibly creating unnecessary duplication. Clearwire has been suggested as the most likely partner for a joint venture.
The other issue is cost, given that solo plans laid out by Sprint should cost at least $3 billion over the course of the next few years. Furthermore, while Sprint's wireless broadband income is on the increase, its core voice service is bleeding customers. Defraying expenses would make WiMax -- and Sprint overall -- more appealing to investors. Clearwire is already being supported by almost $1 billion from Intel and Motorola.
WiMax is one of the fastest of the current mobile broadband technologies, in theory delivering downloads up to 70Mbps; more plausible speeds are located around the 10Mbps mark. Its main rival is HSDPA, which while slower, has gained more traction in North America. [via InformationWeek]