Light Reading

Sprint Facing WiMax Delays?

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
3/5/2007
50%
50%
Repost This

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) has set an aggressive target for its first WiMax network -- promising a wide-scale rollout of the wireless broadband technology in the U.S. in 2008. It's a target that may be too ambitious, according to analysts and vendors, with a new report predicting that the schedule will slip by a year or two.

Financial analysts at Dresdner Kleinwort have issued a research note suggesting that the WiMax deployment is "almost certain" to run into "cost overruns" and "delays." The Reston, Va.-based operator's CEO, Gary Forsee, hinted on his company's recent earnings call that Sprint may look for additional investors beyond Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), and Samsung Corp. (See Sprint: Profits Up, Subs Stall.) "We believe the whole project will be marred by severe delays, quality deficiencies and functional slippages," says the analyst firm. "Mass market rollout seems more likely by 2009-10."

Unstrung heard similar talk from vendors at the recent 3GSM show in Barcelona. One source was skeptical that the product would be ready in time for planned rollouts.

Sprint said recently that it was satisfied with the progress so far on the network. The company reiterated its position to Unstrung on Monday evening.

"We are on track with our program and technology evaluations for where we want/need to be at this stage of the network development," said a spokesman for Sprint in an email. "We will have soft launches in two major markets by year-end, with commercial launch during 2008 to a targeted 100 million pops."

"The earnings call did nothing more than reiterate messages made to the marketplace during CES in January and press announcements, and excitement over the prospects. You may have noticed a refinement of our 4G capital expenditure in 2007 to $800 million, down from one billion estimated last August as a result of vendor contract finalization."

It has always been clear, however, that it could be tricky to hit the mobile WiMax milestone using Sprint's preferred technology. The operator wants to use the very latest in mobile broadband known as "Wave 2" WiMax, which mandates chipsets that use "beamforming" and multi-antenna arrays to increase the data transfer rates and capacity offered over the network.

Startup Beceem Communications Inc. , which claims to be the first to deliver a Wave 2 mobile chipset, says it should allow customers to deliver devices based on the silicon in the second half of 2007.

WiMAX Forum certification of initial Wave 2 base station and device interoperability is slated to start in the second quarter of 2007. These forum test schedules have also been known to slip before. (See WiMax Waits on Testing.)

Meanwhile, most base station vendors are working on Wave 1-compliant base stations that they say will be upgradeable to Wave 2 capabilities. In January, Navini Networks Inc. claimed to be first to demonstrate Wave 2 infrastructure in San Jose, Calif. this January. (See Navini Joins WiMax PlugFest.)

Even if the testing remains on track this doesn't leave much time to deploy and test Sprint's initial WiMax sites in Baltimore, Washington, D.C, and Chicago. These are due to be switched on by the end of 2007 with wider commercial services to follow. (See Motorola's WiMax Wait.) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
Wind River Demonstrates Carrier-Grade Software for NFV

4|22|14   |   5:00   |   (0) comments


Wind River VP of Product Management, Glenn Seiler, takes a look the industry's first and only complete NFV software platform designed specifically for the unique carrier-grade and high-performance needs of telecom networks.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments


US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
LRTV Custom TV
Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
LRTV Documentaries
Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (7) comments


Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
LRTV Documentaries
Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment


Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
LRTV Custom TV
Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment


At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments


Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments


Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Documentaries
Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments


Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
LRTV Custom TV
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at Mobile World Congress

4|1|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks to Heavy Reading about the value of virtualization spanning from the data center to service provider networks to mobile devices.
Hot Topics
WhatsApp Threatens Carrier VoLTE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/18/2014
The Hungry, Hungry Cloud
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2014
Who's Ready to Play Broadband?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/21/2014
What's the Magic of Private Equity?
Carolyn Mathas, 4/22/2014
AT&T Turns Up Gig Heat in 21 New Metros
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/21/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed