Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sprint to Build "XOHM" WiMAX Brand

Sprint will market its upcoming WiMAX services under the "XOHM" (pronounced ZOAM) brand. A soft launch of the WiMAX network is expected by the end of 2007 in the Chicago and Baltimore/Washington markets. XOHM commercial services are expected to be available beginning in the first half of 2008. Sprint expects that its WiMAX services will deliver speeds up to five times faster than current third-generation wireless devices.

At a company sponsored Technology Summit, Sprint executives outlined plans for the coming WiMAX launch and demonstrated the "Pivot" Sprint wireless services that are now being marketed by joint venture partner cable companies. Pivot service is now available in 20 markets and the company plans to extend it to at least 40 markets by year-end.

Barry West, President of 4G Mobile Broadband and Sprint's Chief Technology Officer, said Sprint continues to seek a broad WiMAX ecosystem of chipsets, devices, networks, services/content and distribution partners. West said that ecosystem partners have committed to embed 50 million WiMAX chipsets in devices.

Under its planned network sharing agreement with Clearwire, which was announced last month, Sprint Nextel currently expects the network buildout to reach 100 million people by the end of 2008 with Sprint providing coverage to 70 million and Clearwire to 30 million people. Sprint's coverage is expected to grow to approximately 125 million people by the end of 2010.

Sprint Nextel also announced updated financial targets for its WiMAX business, reflecting final execution of the agreement with Clearwire:

  • The company expects to generate between $2B and $2.5B in revenues for the fiscal year 2010 with more than 80% generated from new lines of business.

  • The company expects that the WiMAX initiative will be positive for Operating Income Before Depreciation and Amortization (OIBDA) in 2010.

  • Sprint Nextel expects to invest approximately $2.5 billion in capital for WiMAX through year-end 2008. Beyond 2008, network build is expected to be increasingly success-based. The company currently expects that extending its coverage to approximately 125 million people by year-end 2010 would require an additional capital expenditure of approximately $2.5 billion.

  • The WiMAX initiative is expected to generate positive Free Cash Flow beginning in 2011 as the annual OIBDA contribution is expected to exceed capital expenditures, working capital and other cash requirements.
  • In July 2007, Sprint announced plans to work with Google to spur new mobility and location-assisted services over its forthcoming WiMAX network. Sprint's WiMAX network bandwidth, location detection and presence capabilities will be matched with Google's communications suite - Google Apps - that combines the Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Talk services. Sprint also confirmed plans to provide open standard APIs (application programming interfaces) to its go-to-market partners and the Internet developer community to create customized products for browsable devices, facilitating the delivery of personalized and interactive services to consumer, business, public safety and government customers. These services will be available in a variety of WiMAX embedded devices, including connection cards, stand-alone modems, laptop computers and consumer electronic devices such as personal media players, mobile Internet devices, gaming devices and phones. Eventually, the WiMAX service will be available in vehicles for navigation information, news and entertainment.

See also