Wall Street may force Sprint to curtail WiMax plans

Some investors and analysts are urging Sprint to slow down its plans to roll out a 4G wireless network service, or even sell off the related assets.

Sprint has one of the largest and fastest 3G cellular wireless networks in the United States, and the company is in the process of rolling out a 4G network using Mobile WiMax.

Unfortunately for this telcom, its leading-edge technology hasn't resulted in it gaining new customers. On the contrary, its subscriber base has actually declined in recent years, along with its share price.

As a result, Sprint's chief executive resigned last Monday. Gary Forsee had been the driving force behind this telcom's plan to have a nationwide WiMax network in place by 2010, and some are urging his replacement -- who has yet to be named -- to re-think the plan.

Critics of the Xohm service point out that it will cost $5 billion to put in place, is based on unproven technology, and do nothing about the the company's short-term problems. Defenders say that in the long term it will bring in many new customers by offering a mobile Internet service that's as fast as a DSL connection.

Those who are against the WiMax plan urge the new CEO to either slow down the process or even sell its assets to another company. Sprint can't completely drop the project, as it has purchased the rights to use portions of the wireless spectrum earmarked for WiMax.

As decision on the fate of the Xohm service won't be made until Sprint has found a new CEO.

This was first published in October 2007

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