Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Sprint's big bet
Sprint has made quite a large bet with their upcoming Xohm WiMAX based data services. WiMAX is WIFI, but with longer range enabling better area coverage by less access points. (Think 400+ points for Google to unwire Mountain View and Sprint can do it with 2 or 3 towers.) Its more of a cross between an EVDO network but with the greater speeds of low end WIFI.
How big of a bet is Sprint making? $5 billion. Pretty decent amount of cash, and I'd bet on it too if it was my money.
They've got the towers, data network to the towers and with the recent acquisition of Nextel, the business customer based to eat it all up.
Its a classic net access land grab and the clock is ticking.
Who should be threatened by this? Sure most people are talking about Sprint v. other mobile carriers, but Sprint doesn't have them in their sights. Sprint is after the fixed broadband customers by giving them not only high speed access, but giving them roaming capabilities which they can't get with cable or DSL. They're not going to compete on a level playing field, they're going to play by a new set of rules. Ones that they'll define.
The other effect of a technology like this is that 802.11x enabled devices will explode. WiMAX enabled cameras, handhelds (hmmm, WiMAX Apple iPad would be amazing - hint hint) and so on.
If Sprint was really on the ball, they'd pull a master service provider play and provide reseller access to the network and really accelerate the adoption of the network.
That's what I would do.