Telecommunications provider Sprint is beginning to lift the curtain on its forthcoming WiMax high speed wireless data services. First, the company plans to begin marketing the service under the newly-created brand "Xohm"—which the company says is pronouncd "zaom-oh-m"—and plans to test launch the services in the Chicago and Baltimore/Washington DC markets by the end of 2007, with commercial service rollouts following in the first half of 2008.
WiMax, which stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is a long-distance wireless technology designed to provide high-speed broadband capabilities; unlike 802.11 Wi-Fi networking, WiMax is a long-range system which can be full scaled to meet a number of networking needs, and could even replace wired backhaul Internet connections in remote areas. In theory, WiMax can offer bandwidth up to 70 Mbps, but bandwidth will vary by distance and a number of other factors: for at least the mid-term, users shouldn’t expect that kind of data delivery, although WiMax in many cases should offer significantly more bandwidth than current wireless broadband options.
Xohm services are a natural match for mobile phones, but it’s reasonable to expect Sprint will partner with computer makers and other systems maker to integrated WiMax services into everything from portable media players to vehicles.
Sprint says it plans to sink $2.5 billion into its WiMax infrastructure through the end of 2008, with another $2.5 billion following that by the end of 2010. The company expects Xohm/WiMax services will produce between $2 and $2.5 billion in annual revenue by 2010, with more than 80 percent of that money being new business, rather than customers abandoning an existing Sprint service in favor of Xohm. By 2011, Sprint expects its WiMax business will be producing a positive cash flow.