Let's talk about WiMAX, friends. WiMAX, the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is a fairly new wireless standard currently being used by companies like Clearwire to provide internet access “wirelessly”. It can also be used as a fourth-gen standard for cellphones, and we know that Sprint is rolling out its 4G WiMAX network right now. What's we've heard, though, is quite interesting: Sprint is farther along than most people thought in its rollout.
So far along that we can predict a launch time. Look for Sprint to light stuff up sometime in the early part of the second quarter of 2008. We're guessing sometime around Easter. Sprint will be able to give its new WiMAX handsets bandwidth that matches today's rates at a much, much cheaper price. We like the sound of that.
What's really great about Sprint's implementation is that WiMAX will be the only service new handsets will need, meaning less transceivers, which translates to cheaper high-end phones. Voice calls will be handled like Skype or other VoIP services, meaning the whole phone network is IP based. That suggests cheaper voice plans. Or, more likely, inexpensive all-you-can-gab plans.
While we'd like to see WiMAX standardized across all carriers, that's not going to happen. Verizon and AT&T have significant investments in rival technologies, and T-Mobile is on the cusp of opening up its 3.5G evolutional network. This means that in the near future instead of the confusion of two different standards, we'll have the headache of four. Thanks, carriers!