News reports are once again putting Sprint's WiMAX business in question. The Wall Street Journal reports that Sprint is mulling a spin-off or merger with or sale of the business to Clearwire. The news comes after Sprint reported more dismal results, namely a 77-percent drop in net income. Again, Sprint says it is still on track with its WiMAX business.
While Sprint maintains its commitment to WiMAX, the company has reduced its spending on WiMAX. The company cut back on capex during the third quarter, spending $813 million. That money primarily went to CDMA and EV-DO improvements. The expected capex increase around WiMAX didn't happen. The company said it spent $73 million on WiMAX for the two markets it is launching this year: Washington, D.C., and Chicago. That amount is less than it anticipated to spend.
During the VON trade show in Boston, Sprint's vice president of technology development, Ali Tabassi, indicated the operator has 10,000 sites prepared, 1750 base stations ordered in 2007 for delivery and 20,000 antennas ordered. He added that Sprint will "soft launch" its WiMAX network in Chicago and Washington, D.C. while friendly users will start using the network in February. Commercial launches are scheduled for April and additional markets will be lit up in 2008.