By Alok Saboo on September 6th, 2008
At one point, when Sprint broke up with Clearwire, things did not look that rosy for WiMAX. However, Sprint with Intel’s support managed to keep things moving. Things are again looking up for WiMAX. Sprint and Clearwire have come together finally to combine thier separate WiMAX businesses into a common entity (to be known as Clearwire, henceforth). Not only that, they have also convinced some heavyweights to support their venture. The consortium now includes partners like Google, Intel, Comcast, Time Warner, Clearwire and Sprint Nextel (of course). The partners have also agreed to sink in about $3.2 billion into the venture. This gives a new life to the, once struggling, technology given that the nationwide rollout will cost around $5 billion.
The partners also bring unique strengths to the venture. Google brings the search and application development capabilities. Intel provides the harware support that will drive the technology. Time Warner brings the content. Comcast provides the distribution support. So it looks like a nice team (at least on paper). It will be interesting to see how they manage to keep their interests aligned.
Meanwhile, Sprint has succesfully completed the testing in the Baltimore-D.C area and now gunning for a commercial launch. The operations team has got its 1000th base station ahead of schedule. The company plans to launch services in Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia and Dallas shortly. Although the company has not announced the timeline for nationwide launch, it looks like the venture will beat AT&T and Verizon in their LTE rollout, which still looks to be some years away.
Although, the technology is not available for mobile phones, but we should see WiMAX enabled portable devices like the N810 tablet. If any of you have had first hand experience with WiMAX, share your opinions.