Sprint's 50 Buck Chuck
Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s Atish Gude, senior vice president of Mobile Broadband Operations for Sprint's XOHM service used his keynote here Thursday morning to try the operator's new WiMax network marketing on for size. With XOHM's initial Baltimore market now launched, Gude didn't offer much detail beyond what he had already told Unstrung about potential future launches. (See Chicago WiMax Is 'Imminent'.)
The operator is still learning from Baltimore and will use that data to decide how it launches new markets. Gude says the WiMax service could launch in sequence in different cities or could get "bundled up" in a number of markets for a "big bang."
Sprint is now offering a range of billing options for WiMax that users can buy, or soon will be able to. The operator has everything from $10 day-passes to a limited $50 lifetime offer that will allow users to "pick any two devices" they wish to use on the network, which could include PC cards, desktops, and USB dongles. [Ed. note: And toasters? Any mention of toasters?]
Gude said that billing will continue to evolve as the network does.
He made no apologies, however, for Sprint maintaining the right to cap data usage if the XOHM network gets congested. An "acceptable use" clause, written into the Xohm subscriber agreement gives the company the right to limit data usage if it feels it must -- a decision that has attracted controversy across the blogosphere.
Gude said it's generally a small percentage of users -- less than 5 percent -- that suck down the most bandwidth and that Sprint would cap their usage when traffic is the heaviest on the XOHM network.
"Sometimes the rights of the many outweigh the rights of the few. Every wireless network operator knows this," an unapologetic Gude declared.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung