updated 11:00 am EDT, Fri November 2, 2007
Sprint May Spin Off WiMAX
Sprint has yet to launch its Xohm WiMAX service but is alread considering spinning it out as its own company to help the financial bottom line, according to alleged sources speaking with the Wall Street Journal. The cellular carrier is reportedly under fire from critical investors who consider the 4G Internet access a diversion from cellular profits, pointing to poor results in the latest quarter as evidence; the company may end up merging Xohm with Clearwire and taking the company public to raise money, the report claims.
Sprint's temporary chief executive Paul Saleh recently pledged to maintain WiMAX but may not have final control over the matter once a permanent CEO is found. Saleh and recently ousted predecessor Gary Forsee have typically called WiMAX an essential part of Sprint's future, as it provides wide-range Internet access in portable devices (including future Nokia tablets) at speeds more closely resembling a fixed cable or DSL line. Unlike EVDO or other traditional cellular plans, Xohm would not be locked to any one device and should support voice-over-Internet calling and other features typically shunned from other providers, who often ban the features in favor of more lucrative cellphone plans.
WiMAX access through Sprint begins early trials at the end of this year and is expected to go live for the general public by the middle of 2008.