Xohm Shanti Xohm

Friday, November 16, 2007

'Om Shanti Om' is the latest Bollywood blockbuster. It is a spoof in which the protogonist reincarnates and attains the glory he dreamt of in his previous birth. Sprint's Xohm is already dying a slow death and perhaps needs a reincarnation itself. Reason: Sprint called off its joint venture with Clearwire to roll out its much advertised mobile WiMax network.

In a month-old article titled "Forsee out: Will Sprint still Xohm or is UMB back?, I had stated reasons why Sprint may no longer see Xohm attractive post-Forsee. Sure enough, we are seeing its ramifications already. This retro-step is simply an indication of Sprint's commitment as a company to WiMax roll-out. It perhaps wants to so it can gain a leadership position for 4G. Unfortunately, at the current moment, there is no economic case that its investors see. Though it is still likely that Sprint will continue its roll-out efforts, this means that the pace of such a roll-out itself will be slow. There are a few comments I will make here -
  • Tough times for Mobile WiMax means a field day for the proponents of the other two competing 4G technologies, UMB and LTE. With its existing relationship with Qualcomm, Sprint may migrate to UMB as and when there is a demand for 4G speeds in the market. On the other hand, LTE is very much in the running, especially if all competitors opt for the technology thereby driving their respective costs down.
  • Sprint's focus will now be to secure the customers and build a better brand image to stabilize the future. What is the point of investing billions if it cannot guarantee a loyal customer-base!
  • Companies like Motorola, Samsung and Intel that have vested interests in the success of mobile WiMax may now step in and be more proactive with the roll-outs, especially with Clearwire. Sprint perhap is also hoping that some posturing can help drive the WiMax costs down as well.
While mobile WiMax itself may not be down and out in the US, Sprint's Xohm needs a reincarnation of sorts to live the dream.

Posted by Vijay Nagarajan at 9:00 PM  

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