Sprint unveiled its WiMAX product, which will be branded as Xohm (pronounced Zoam). Xohm will do a soft launch in 2007, with coverage for 100 million pops by the end of 2008. Sprint made clear that their WiMAX strategy goes well beyond broadband wireless laptop cards. Their partners, who include Intel, Samsung, and Motorola, intend to deliver 50 million WiMAX embedded devices. These devices range from cellular phones, to TV’s, to home PCs, meaning Sprint and their partners intend to use WiMAX to incubate a true wireless broadband ecosystem. An ecosystem where devices of all kinds, both in the home and in motion, are able to wirelessly connect to the broadband world.
If Sprint’s vision is executed well, Xohm has the potential to create significant competitive advantage for them. The next evolution for the Internet is true mobile/portable broadband connectivity, and it appears Xohm will be the first out of the gate. We are seeing glimpses of this future with EV-DO powered networks from Verizon Wireless and Sprint, but Xohm conceivably takes mobile broadband to the next level. Sprint’s ownership of a vast spectrum swath in the 2.5 Mhz band offers a compelling opportunity for them. The upcoming winners of the 700 Mhz auction may have the opportunity to join them. The pending launch of these broadband wireless services will bring to wireline broadband what cellular service brought to wireline voice. A compelling service that one day we’ll look back on and wonder how we ever lived without it.