The big buzz at the CTIA 2008 trade show here in Las Vegas was the hope that Sprint Nextel would make its big announcement around its WiMAX Xohm business. Word was that Sprint wanted to make an announcement concerning a WiMAX joint venture that would include a number of players: Comcast, Time Warner, Best Buy, Intel, Google and of course Sprint and Clearwire. Sources close to the operator say the deal was pulled back at the final hour due to concerns over joint venture control.
That joint venture, of course, would represent the resurrection of a previous Sprint-Clearwire joint venture that went south. Meanwhile, the nationwide launch of Xohm has been delayed. During FierceWireless' co-located conference today, The Path to 4G, Xohm President and CTO Barry West indicated the company wasn't ready to roll out the technology this month as planned and declined to indicate when a launch would happen. WiMAX is currently up and running in Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Chicago on a soft-launch basis. It's clear from the conference, however, that Sprint is running full steam ahead with its vision for WiMAX. It just needs the cash infusion to do it.
Meanwhile, Arun Sarin, chief executive of Vodafone Group, reiterated his call for the wireless industry to adopt LTE as the 4G standard and give WiMAX a home within that standard. Sarin made similar comments at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. Of course, those are fighting words for a company like Sprint. During a keynote on Tuesday, Sprint President and CEO Dan Hesse said that unlike 4G alternatives like LTE, WiMAX works now.
Finally, according to NextWave President and CEO Allen Salmasi, the company is planning a rather large LTE trial later this year with an unnamed operator. -Lynnette