Bad news for WiMAX. Apparently Sprint and Clearwire have decided not to pursue their partnership to build a nationwide WiMAX network. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the complexity of the deal and Gary Forsee’s departure from Sprint are to blame. This development puts a somewhat shaky WiMAX future in the U.S. into further doubt. WiMAX holds tremendous promise, but will require massive investment and the establishment of a flourishing technology and development ecosystem to bring it to reality. The Sprint/Clearwire partnership was seen as the flagship catalyst to enable such an effort. Someone else may need to pick up the WiMAX ball to ensure that promising future becomes reality.
Most observers believe that Clearwire, while having the vision to build a nationwide WiMAX network, lacks the resources to do so. The Sprint/Clearwire allegiance was seen as a means to a WiMAX end. Put another way – Clearwire needs Sprint to fulfill its vision. Recent speculation purports that Sprint no longer has the stomach to fully participate in their once grand WiMAX plans. Should they decide to further scale back, WiMAX, and its competitive implications are at risk.