Light Reading
New analyst report – and vendor chatter – suggests that Sprint's plan for a 2008 WiMax rollout is likely to face delays

Sprint Facing WiMax Delays?

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

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
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie about the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control – and sign up for ...
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
LRTV Interviews
Bob Wilson, Arsenal Legend: The Light Reading Interview

1|16|15   |   35:36   |   (3) comments


Arsenal goalkeeping legend Bob Wilson was Light Reading's guest interviewee at the 2020 Vision Executive Summit in December. See what the former soccer star and sports broadcaster had to say when he took to the stage in Iceland.
LRTV Custom TV
What MEF Third Network Initiative Means for SDN & NFV

1|14|15   |   6:13   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss discusses the importance of the MEF Third Network initiative and why it's good news for SDN/NFV industry initiatives.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Frank Miller: Distributed Solutions are the Best Build for the Future - Part II

1|9|15   |   2:46   |   (0) comments


At SCTE, Frank Miller, Global CTO of MSO at Huawei, speaks about Cable 2.0 and its innovative future.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
BlackBerry Wants Net Neutrality Protection -- That's Just Sad
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/22/2015
FiOS Picks Up Pace Again
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 1/22/2015
Verizon Ready for Google MVNO Challenge
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/22/2015
Indiana Carrier Takes Fiber to the Farm
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/22/2015
The New Internet Space Race: Google's Final Frontier?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/21/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive