Not a week after Sprint SVP Atish Gude gave a Keynote address at CTIA that was all about the wonders that Xohm - Sprint's WiMAX service - will bestow upon businesses and consumers alike in 2008, Sprint and Clearwire have announced their deal to roll out a nationwide WiMAX network is off. According to the Wall Street Journal, the reasons for the breakup are "the complexities of the transaction and the departure last month of (Sprint CEO) Gary Forsee."
So what now? There are a few possibilities. One is that Sprint and Clearwire have actually been planning to spin off a WiMAX-centric company and that this is but a step along that path. Possible, but doubtful. Another is that Clearwire will forge ahead with newfound backing from Intel, Motorola, Nokia, and other players already invested in a stateside WiMAX rollout. Alongside of that Sprint would seemingly still be deploying XOHM - perhaps on a less aggressive timetable than originally announced by Forsee - just not in conjunction with Clearwire.
That last scenario, the one involving Sprint and Clearwire working on separate WiMAX rollouts gives me pause. It's hard to imagine the two companies building rival WiMAX networks, and I really don't think it'll happen. Hopefully this is nothing but some sort of hide-and-seek business strategy designed to play The Street while still giving end users the high speed, device-independent network Sprint's been talking up for months now.
Read Clearwire, Sprint call their deal off at gigaom.com.