Mobile WiMax deployment has hit a snag.
Sprint Nextel and Clearwire called off a plan to join forces to build a nationwide high-speed wireless network using WiMax technology. The companies said they could not come to agreement on terms of the deal, announced in July.
Sprint had positioned WiMax as a way to let customers surf the Web on laptops, cell phones and other portable devices at speeds up to some five times faster than cellular networks now offer. The company had intended to launch mobile broadband services in initial markets by year-end and planned a larger rollout encompassing 100 million customers by the end of 2008.
Sprint says this week it remains committed to developing WiMax and is on track for a soft launch this year in the Chicago and Baltimore/Washington markets, with commercial launch in 2008.
A source told The Washington Post one of the things the companies could not agree on was how many cell towers each company should build to support WiMax and the pace of that deployment.
Now that Sprint is “hobbled” with WiMax, there’s a question as to how fast other companies, such as Intel and Motorola, can roll out the technology, analysts told the Post. One said the Sprint news “was not a death knell” for WiMax, but is certainly a sign that its rollout is further out than previously believed.