Will SPRINT Scale back its WiMAX deployment?

By Alan J. Weissberger, contact alan at viodi.com for information on his telecom consulting services.
The January 14th on line WSJ states that SPRINT plans to lay off several thousand employees, as newly installed Chief Executive Officer Dan Hesse seeks to show investors a new commitment to efficiency and cost discipline.

Regarding WiMAX, the article states: "(CEO) Mr. Hesse faces a critical decision on the company’s plans to roll out a fast mobile broadband network using WiMax technology. WiMax can theoretically support wireless Internet speeds of 2 to 4 megabits per second – on par with cable broadband – for laptops and mobile devices. Some investors are squeamish about the planned $5 billion venture, given the problems the company faces in its core cellphone business. Prior to Mr. Hesse’s arrival, Sprint’s board weighed various options, including a spin-off of the entity or partnership with WiMax startup Clearwire Corp., but did not push forward with any such arrangement.

Mr. Hesse must decide how much to commit to the venture. If carried through, WiMax could give Sprint one distinct advantage over other cellular operators. The company has said it expects the network to reach 100 million people by the end of this year. But a person close to the company’s WiMax activities said it is conceivable Sprint could scale back its initial rollout as much as 30% to lower the price tag."

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