After a tumultuous couple of years and almost constantly changing plans, Sprint has finally launched a WiMax network.. USA noted the deployment yesterday. Initial service prices are $10 per day or $35 per month.
You can look at WiMax in two ways and your perspective vastly changes how the success of the deployment must be measured. WiMax can serve purely as an alternative broadband link. Customers that can't get cable or DSL might have WiMax access. Indeed smaller WiMax service providers around the US are already offering such service. Sprint's network also supports mobile clients. Mobile in this case may nnot mean driving on a freeway, but rather the ability to use you WiMax-connected network anywhere in a service area. So mobility is an advantage relative to cable and DSL.
Still, WiMax as a broadband competitor is a limited market. Perhaps Sprint could make money on a relatively-low cost deployment with islands of coverage in major cities and be considered successful. But Sprint didn't bet everything on WiMax to deploy such a network. Sprint has planned to build out a nationwide WiMax network before competitors can roll 4G networks based on LTE of other technologies. Succeeding with the 4G plans will still be a struggle for Sprint given that the carrier has been bleeding customers and still struggling with the Nextel acquisition.
Sprint is pricing the service right. The WiMax modem sells for only $50. The cost of entry is way below the cost for the much slower 3G broadband technology offered by mobile service providers today. I sure wish I could buy the service today. Here's hoping the customers in Baltimore have a positive WiMax experience.