With Sprint and Clearwire cutting the contractual knot that was only a bit more than a year old, what are we to think of WiMAX's prospects nowat least in the U.S.?
The companies couldn't resolve complexities in their proposed partnership and failed to agree on the terms of the transaction.
The news doesn't affect WiMAX's viability in developing nations but Sprint was pretty much the standard bearer for the "WiMAX as 4G" contingent in the U.S.
I always had the feeling that the other wireless carriers were just saying "me too" in their "we'll do WiMAX" statements because they didn't want Sprint to have something they didn'teven if that something was hard to justify wherever a full fledged wireless infrastructure was available.
The market reacted badly to the news. Clearwire shares fell about 30 percent because Clearwire will now (presumably) have to fund the billions of dollars infrastructure rollout by itself. Well, Intel might help because is has some skin in the game.
Shares of Sprint edged lower as investors were still waiting for the company, which has been losing subscribers for more than a year, to say it would scale back its plan to spend $5 billion on WiMax by year-end 2010.
As for Sprint's fortunes, analysts believe it won't make any big WiMax decisions until it hires a new CEO to replace Gary Forsee, who resigned last month.
For WiMAX, it's a significant bump on the road to success but it's still likely to find valuable markets, perhaps in mobile video now that multimode, multi-standard phones are on the horizon.