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A XOHM Timeline

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
9/29/2008

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s initial XOHM mobile WiMax services are finally available in Baltimore today. (See XOHM WiMax Is Finally On.) So, let's take a stroll down memory lane and see how the third-largest cellular operator in the U.S. came to WiMax, and where it might go with the mobile broadband technology.

The roots of the carrier's wireless broadband ambitions were laid down with the December 2004 Nextel deal. (See Sprint, Nextel Confirm Merger.) The merger gave the combined operations 2.5 GHz spectrum holdings that cover 90 percent of the top markets in the U.S.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) required that the operator offer services using this spectrum to at least 15 million Americans within four years “of the effective date of the order consenting to the merger” -- and to an additional 15 million American subscribers within six years. Nextel had already been testing wireless broadband technology from Flarion Technologies Inc. and IPWireless Inc. , but Sprint settled on WiMax as a technology that might take it beyond 3G cellular.

That is where our timeline begins:

February 2005: Sprint joins the WiMax Forum and says it may start testing the technology toward the end of the year. (See Sprint's Got WiMax Plans.)

May 2005: Operator says it will work with Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) on WiMax and could use both fixed and mobile variants of the technology. (See Sprint Firms Up WiMax Plans.)

June 2005: Sprint selects Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) for WiMax tests. (See Sprint Picks Moto for WiMax.)

August 2005: FCC approves Sprint Nextel merger... with conditions. (See Sprint Nextel Preps Wireless BB.)

September 2005: Sprint tests the South Korean WiMax specification, WiBro. (See Sprint Preps WiBro Trial.)

August 2006: Sprint announces it will spend $3 billion on a mobile WiMax network that will serve 100 million by the end of 2008. Intel, Motorola, and Samsung Corp. are onboard as partners. (See Sprint Goes WiMax.)

January 2007: Sprint names Nokia as another WiMax supplier (See Sprint Picks Nokia for WiMax.)

March 2007: Clearwire raises $600 million in an IPO. (See Clearwire's Cash Craving.)

July 2007: Sprint and Clearwire ally on WiMax network deployment. (See Sprint, Clearwire Team.)

August 2007: Sprint unveils XOHM brand, says Clearwire deal will cut costs. (See Sprint's Ready to XOHM Out.)

October 2007: Sprint CEO Gary Forsee steps down, with WiMax deployment costs cited as one of the reasons. (See Sprint Nextel CEO Steps Down.)

November 2007: Sprint and Clearwire split, saying that a joint deal is too hard to agree on. Sprint says it is reviewing its WiMax business. (See Report: Sprint & Clearwire Split and Sprint Reconsiders WiMax Plans.)

December 2007: Dan Hesse gets picked to be Sprint CEO. Sprint has a "soft launch" of WiMax in Chicago and Washington, D.C. (See Embarq CEO Resigns to Run Sprint and Sprint Launches WiMax Sites.)

January 2008: Sprint talks about an April 2008 launch for XOHM. (See CES: Sprint's in the XOHM.)

February 2008: Rumors of a renewed Clearwire/Sprint deal emerge. (See Clearwire-Sprint Deal Soon? )

April 2008: Sprint misses April deadline for launch, blames backhaul problems. (See Sprint Quiet on WiMax Launch Date.)

May 2008: Sprint and Clearwire announce WiMax asset merger with $3.2 billion in funding from Intel, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), and the cablecos. (See Sprint, Clearwire Form WiMax Giant.)

June 2008: Hesse announces September launch plans for XOHM in Baltimore. (See B'More Will Be First With Sprint WiMax.)

July 2008: AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) asks the FCC to block Sprint/Clearwire. (See AT&T Looks to Block Sprint/Clearwire Merger.)

August 2008: Clearwire says merger is still on track for Q4 close. (See Clearwire: We're Still on Track.)

September 2008, today: Sprint launches first XOHM market.

THE FUTURE: Q4, 2008: Clearwire deal expected to close, Nokia 810 WiMax tablet to arrive on the market. Sprint wants to cover 15 million people by the end of this year. (See Hello XOHM.)

2009: Google Android devices ready for Clearwire network. (See Android on WiMax in 2009?)

2010: Mobile VOIP available on Clearwire network. (See CTIA: Clearwire Talks Android & More.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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