Light Reading

XOHM May Launch This Summer

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

ThinkEquity LLC is claiming that Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) will launch its initial XOHM WiMax networks in early summer.

The analyst firm, which has been one of the key cheerleaders for Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) and XOHM in recent months, says that that initial "WiMax network launch" for the XOHM service will happen in Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, and Portland, Ore., "mid-year" with "others following closely behind."

Chicago and Baltimore-Washington were the initial markets slated for an April launch by Sprint, which has subsequently been delayed. Portland, meanwhile, is a Clearwire market, and the analyst firm continues to suggest that a link-up between the two WiMax rivals will happen sooner rather than later.

Sprint isn't saying anything about either topic. At the recent CTIA show, Sprint CTO Barry West told Unstrung that the April launch has been delayed by backhaul woes but wouldn't put a new date on XOHM going commercial.

West was even more recalcitrant on talk of a Sprint-Clearwire hook-up, telling reporters that it wasn't worth their effort to ask the question. Other vendors at the Vegas show, however, suggested that XOHM would be up and running by Fall. (See Sprint Quiet on WiMax Launch Date and Sprint's Backhaul Bottleneck.)

The ThinkEquity research note author, Eric Kainer, says that the carriers will offer "residential WiMax gateways" to users as the networks launch. These gateways, he suggests, will combine a DSL or cable modem with a router and analog telephone adapter (ATA). "Some gateways feature integrated WiFi to serve as an access point, others do not, although each vendor seems to have such a device on its product roadmap," Kainer writes.

The integrated ATA will enable the WiMax service providers to offer "a residential package of broadband and voice very economically, with voice being perhaps a $5-10 per month unlimited add-on," he contines. "This mirrors T-Mobile USA's residential voice service currently offered in two markets and slated for nationwide launch any time now."

Although Sprint has offered only limited insight into the products it will launch with XOHM, this gateway concept seems to resonate with the thinking of West and the rest of the XOHM crew. The Sprint CTO is already keen on using femtocells to improve the indoor coverage of the 2.5 GHz XOHM service.

ThinkEquity, it should be noted, has been calling for the reformation of the Clearwire-Sprint partnership almost since the pair originally split in November 2007, suggesting that firms such as Best Buy, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), and Intel Capital were ready to invest in a new joint venture. (See ThinkEquity Bangs WiMax Drum, Clearwire-Sprint Deal Soon? , and Sprint-Clearwire: On Again in 2008?.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:43:40 PM
re: XOHM May Launch This Summer
"Sprints core business and financial issues aside...given the delays and expectations...any launch that does not immediately dazzle will be a critical strategic mistake and lead to quick death."

Keep waiting, show me a launch of anything wireless -- 3G, WiMax, metro WiFi, whatever -- that has "dazzled" in the last ten years. It doesn't happen like that. I Remember the inital UMTS launches. They were crap, to be frank, we were promised Mbit/s, we got a sluggish, slow connection. Operators need to get the stuff up and running and get users on it to fine tune it and upgrade it.

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:43:40 PM
re: XOHM May Launch This Summer
Sprints core business and financial issues aside...given the delays and expectations...any launch that does not immediately dazzle will be a critical strategic mistake and lead to quick death.

As for "residential gateway" are you saying this would have a WiMAX radio in it? From the article it seems not - so then what does this have to do with XOHM? If as T-Mobile then it is WiFi and mobile with integrated WiFi is required (it is not a GSM access point).

As for West's promotion of Femtocell to improve indoor the suggestion that an externally mounted antenna arrangement is used? While a "box" or Femtocell with integrated antenna make provide some better reception it is probably not adequate w/o external antenna. Which historically has been a big issue. Oh and then there are unique TDD challenges and of course interference issues, etc.

I am afraid Sprint has really lost thier focus and are chasing new technology - meanwhile thier core business is failing.

Sorry I want to be positive but need to call it as it is.
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:43:37 PM
re: XOHM May Launch This Summer

Agree in an overall context of WiMAX.
But I was referring to Sprint specifically.
Being the first mover (in a big way) bears the most risk. Yes look back at your examples and the first movers took the beating in the press and in varied ways financially.

So while WiMAX will live on, my point is that if Sprint puts out a ho-hum, non-exciting service, then they well suffer major beatings in the press. Once an image is set (whether true or not)in the prospective subscribers mind - it is very difficult to overcome.

So IMHO, Sprint went down this path the wrong way from the start. They should have quietly built up a small test market, used it as a showcase and set the base for the future (funding, etc.). Instead they announce grand plans/contracts/etc. and again IMHO set expectations that will be hard to meet - much less beat. This (could be very) bad for WiMAX.

Anyway I will go back in my cave and shutup on this board/topic for a while. :-)
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:43:30 PM
re: XOHM May Launch This Summer
No need to retreat to the cave.

I'd agree that this service has to be at least as good as current HSPA and quickly be shown to be better/cheaper than it.

For what its worth, the HSPA modem I have seems to provide between 1 Mbit/s to 3 Mbit/s downlink most of the time. Latency is a bit of an issue. WiMax could score there.

Now prices are falling on 3G data coverage is becoming an issue again. That might be where WiMax stuggles, although you'll EV-DO to fall back on.
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:39:44 PM
re: XOHM May Launch This Summer
What to Expect at WIMAX Forum World Congress 2008 (June 17-18 2008,RAI Exhibition Centre, Amsterdam)?

The WiMAX Forum World Congress is always a sought after event for industry watchers but this time it is something special. The focus has now clearly shifted to real life implementations of WiMAX and it is no surprise that the event begins with an impressive broadside from Barry West,CTO of Sprint Nextel speaking on the rollout plans of XOHM and its impact on the WiMAX markets worldwide. With Barry having already announced the success of trials of XOHM, the observers are expecting much more punch in his opening address. Comes as it does after the historic JV between Sprint, Clearwire, Comcast and Time Warner Cable along with Google and others, the focus is evidently on implementation applications and new devices to propel growth. The Cable majors evidently see a lot in the WiMAX networks for wireless delivery of video content.
WiMAX also weighs heavily on the minds of Cable and Satellite Operators in Asia, both for its potential benefits and threats to existing businesses. Halfway around the world, in Singapore, the forum of CASBAA ( Cable and Satellite broadcasters Association of Asia) opens on June 16 with a session on the GÇ£WiMAX WarsGÇ¥. Featured are an equally impressive whoGÇÖs who of the satellite, Broadcasting and Cable TV Industry with David McGlade and Dan Goldberg, the CEOs of global satellite operators Intelsat and Telesat, delivering the keynote addresses. Other featured speakers will include Star COO Laureen Ong, Arianespace CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall, Asiasat CEO Peter Jackson, Protostar CEO Philip Father and Asia Broadcast Satellite CEO Tom Choi.
Coming just before the Broadcast Asia 2008 and CommunicAsia 2008( June 17-19th) at Singapore both the Fora are going to be highly focused on the WiMAX as the new mobile Internet technologies and its applications for broadcast networks, regulations and spectrum allocations. Asia and emerging markets have been the largest users of WiMAX technologies so far and hence the focus on the technology as it graduates out of the trials and gets into major networks. WiMAX deployment is critically dependent on the regulatory environment, applications and enabling provisions such as spectrum allocations in markets worldwide and two fora being held simultaneously at Singapore and Amsterdam with perfectly synchronized dates do not unfortunately help. Telecom executives and regulators in Asia consider these events an annual GÇ£mustGÇ¥.
Neverthless the WiMAX Forum World Congress has an impressive line up in its track on Spectrum and Regulation ( for WiMAX). The focus is on global harmonization of bands, possible roaming arrangements and cost effectiveness of different spectrum bands. There is also a focus on the use of the newly announced 700 MHz band and the present deployment momentum in the 3.5 GHz bands. However the session is woefully silent on the co-existence with other networks, which form the central theme of regulatory discussions such as CASBAA. However it is the applications and services which take the centre stage at the World Congress. The availability of new WiMAX devices and the global harmonization of bands are key inputs which the participants are looking at to see if 2008 will indeed be the Year of the WiMAX.
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