According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Sprint is set to announce its intention to build a $1 billion to $4 billion WiMAX network, a major undertaking for the carrier. The announcement would be a boon to WiMAX proponents like Intel and Motorola and a clear setback for Qualcomm with its competing technology. Analysts say the deployment could spell trouble for the company's stock, since a similar billion dollar deployment of fiber by Verizon dogged the company on Wall Street for months.
As we wrote yesterday, Sprint needs to get back to the fundamentals and, in particular build out its network, so the move is timely. The choice of WiMAX, of course, is somewhat controversial since a deployment of this size has not yet been attempted. Sprint recently announced an expanded deal with Time Warner to take its VoIP offering across Sprint's current IP network and a massive WiMAX deployment could make that a wVoIP play in the years ahead. Sprint's overall bet is that wireless Internet and mobile content services will be a big play in the future, and while wVoIP seems like a no-brainer, the uptake of mobile content services has been slow.
For more on Sprint's rumored WiMAX announcement:
- see this article from the WSJ (sub. req.)