CTIA Wireless 2008: Hesse Affirms WiMAX Future
Sprint Nextel’s wireless goal: ‘own the pole position,’ CEO says in keynote
WiMAX, a transmission technology with a seemingly always cloudy future, is still a bright spot in the Sprint Nextel broadband wireless landscape, Dan Hesse, the company’s increasingly famous president-CEO said during a first-day keynote address at CTIA Wireless 2008.
“WiMAX is not slideware,” Hesse said. “We believe the market is ready for these capabilities now.”
WiMAX, called XOHM in the Sprint Nextel vernacular, is a piece of the carrier’s broadband wireless vision that includes a little bit of marketing with an all-inclusive price plan, a little bit of speed with next-generation 3G technology, a little bit of razzle dazzle with push-to-talk, and a little bit of glamour with a new Instinct phone co-developed with Samsung.
“Today it’s the whole package,” said Hesse.
By chasing that whole package, Sprint Nextel will “own the pole position” in the future broadband wireless race, he affirmed, starting with data services because “the most exciting developments in the wireless industry are going to come from data; it’s pervasive,” he continued.
Industry wireless data packages, Hesse said, “fall short of the mark,” resembling the add-on fees that the industry charged for roaming and other services in the not-so-distant future. “The long distance charges of 1998 are text fees” and “a penalty for owning a PDA.”
The one-price package, along with a phone like the Instinct, “provides a proof point that the wireless company of the future exists now,” said Hesse. “the walled garden wireless company is the wireless company of the past.”
Even so, 3G is not enough and 4G — WiMAX, for Sprint Nextel — is needed to deliver the “true broadband experience” and the carrier is well positioned with 100 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum to deliver WiMAX services that gives is “at least a two-year time to market advantage” over other 4G plans such as LTE, he concluded.