Sprint to Shut Down WiMAX Service ~Nov 6, 2015

Overview:

At long last, Sprint has confirmed it will be turning off of its WiMAX service on or around November 6th, 2015.  That’s a little over 1 year for owners of WiMAX mobile devices (including laptops with WiMax cards/dongles) to switch to LTE .  WiMAX mobile devices will still work in 3G mode after that, but one doesn’t buy a 4G device or interface to use it in 3G mode, especially after a few years of ownership.

The time frame for the shutdown was originally reported by a blog on Android Central this past weekend, which cited an internal Sprint memo detailing the company’s network plans. Yesterday, Sprint spokeswoman Adrienne Norton confirmed the date to FierceWireless.

In April, Sprint said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it would “cease using WiMAX technology  by the end of 2015.” As part of that effort, Sprint said it identified  approximately 6,000 “redundant sites that we expect to decommission and  terminate the underlying leases.”

This author long ago forecast the demise of mobile WiMAX, because no other major wireless telcos or mobile device makers (except Samsung) were supporting it.  In a September 2006 blog post, we asked “Will the Real “Mobile WiMAX” please stand up!”

What’s Cooking Now in Sprint’s Wireless Broadband Kitchen:

Sprint says it already has built its 4G LTE network to serve more than 255 million people, with more on the way, making it easy for customers to take advantage of all the great features on smartphones.

In addition to Sprint’s all-new 3G network and its 4G LTE network, Sprint is deploying Sprint Spark, a technology designed to greatly improve the performance of video and other bandwidth-intensive applications, including new generations of online gaming, virtual reality and advanced cloud services. It enables stutter-free video chat on-the-go and mobile gaming that leaves lag behind. Sprint Spark is an enhanced LTE service that’s built for data and designed to deliver average wireless speeds of 6-15Mbps and peak wireless speeds of 50-60Mbps today on capable devices, with increasing speed potential over time. Sprint plans to reach 100 million Americans by year-end with the service.

Beginning Oct. 10, the Sprint Business Share Plan will again double the data, now delivering 240GB to 800GB of data to business customers with 50 to 100 lines.  The latest promotion, running through Oct. 31, 2014, provides businesses double the data for $50 to $150 less per month than a similar promotion from AT&T.

The Road Ahead will be Very Bumpy:

A recent SEC regulatory filing confirms mass layoffs at Sprint.  With its latest round of layoffs and cost-cutting, it will be difficult for the smaller size company to expand and upgrade it’s LTE infrastructure and continue on the M2M/IoT path it had set for itself over four years ago.

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