Sprint And Clearwire Break Up: Bad News For Both… And Anyone Looking Forward To WiMax
from the slow-it-down dept
While we’ve been quite critical about WiMax in the past, it was mostly due to the ridiculous hype around the technology well before it actually existed. There was so much hype that many (including reporters) simply claimed it existed when it did not. Even some companies referred to their non-WiMax wireless broadband solutions as WiMax. However, with Intel pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into it and Sprint deciding to bet on WiMax, we hoped that perhaps it could actually live up to its hype someday (though, not for a long time, certainly). When Sprint agreed to team up with Clearwire to build a single nationwide WiMax network, it seemed even more reasonable a possibility that it could actually come to be. Splitting the cost of the infrastructure made a tremendous amount of sense. So much sense… that it might not be happening. Due to Sprint’s recent troubles (where it’s even considering ditching WiMax altogether, due to some incredibly shortsighted investor pressure) Sprint and Clearwire have called off their agreement to work together on a nationwide WiMax network.
This is bad news for just about everyone (with the possible temporary exception of the other US mobile operators and baby bells). Without the combined effort, it makes it even more questionable whether either one will be able to go much further with WiMax, let alone build their own nationwide WiMax network. Sprint may end up dropping the WiMax effort altogether (again, due to shortsighted investors) and Clearwire may just be in trouble. It also hurts anyone who was hoping for real wireless broadband in the near future. While the other mobile operators and landline broadband providers may breathe a sigh of relief, it means that those companies can slow down their own plans for next generation services, as the competition won’t be as fierce and they won’t seem quite as late to the game. There is still some talk that something else could potentially happen with Sprint spinning off its WiMax network plans and merging that with Clearwire, but without the strong backing of Sprint, the plan is less likely to get as far. This isn’t the death of WiMax, but it certainly opens up the opportunity for some other wireless broadband offerings to take away some of the WiMax hype.