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Sprint Xohm Launch Officially Delayed
CTO blames backhaul provisioning, logistics...
by Karl Bode 11:27AM Thursday Apr 03 2008
Sprint's having a hard time getting their Xohm launch off on schedule. This week the company was expected to announce billions in new financing from Comcast and Time Warner Cable, but that announcement never came. Now, Sprint CTO Barry West is confirming to attendees at CTIA this week in Las Vegas that the launch has officially been delayed. Getting backhaul capacity for the 2-4Mbps wireless service has been problematic:
quote:
Click for full size
What's holding Sprint back is simply the logistics of building the network, and specifically the problem of provisioning "backhaul" connections to the Internet, he said. Mobile operators typically lease T-1 lines from their cell sites for these backhaul links, but those lines only provide 1.5Mbps. WiMax is designed to deliver more than that to every subscriber.
But logistics aren't the only problem. Sprint, reeling from a bad marriage to Nextel and a sagging subscriber count, also needs to pay for the network. Sprint hasn't solidified financing, so they haven't been able to offer new build projections. Originally, Sprint claimed they'd reach ten million users with the service by the end of this year, but that's obviously not happening. Somewhere, AT&T & Verizon executives (who plan to start embracing LTE technology by 2010 or so) are smiling.

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en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA

Financing is probably a key factor..

When Sprint's status was lowered to 'junk' by various organizations, it makes procuring financing much harder and more expensive.
--
Canada = Hollywood North

rcdailey
Dragoonfly
Premium
join:2005-03-29
Rialto, CA

Re: Financing is probably a key factor..

Too bad Sprint is not an investment bank. If they were, they could get some help from the Fed.

en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA

Re: Financing is probably a key factor..

Yeah - JP Morgan did well off Bear Stearns with that one... at our expense, no less. $30/share, bought for $2/share
--
Canada = Hollywood North
jc100

join:2002-04-10

Re: Financing is probably a key factor..

10 dollars =). Wonder how that sat with the stockholders (sarcasm). A 20 dollar loss in price. Amazing how this administration has screwed things up. 5 trillion deficit, a worthless dollar, etc etc.

As for sprint, they need to stop thinking in 20 directions. That's this company's major problem. They can't get idea one working flawlessly but decide to go onto idea 2 anyway. Seriously guys, fix your customer support and billing issues. This way customers won't be leaving in droves. Once that's resolved, THEN BUILD OUT. However, you first must focus on keeping your company alive and customers staying. You won't be building out for anyone if EVERYONE leaves.

en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA

Re: Financing is probably a key factor..

I tend to agree with you on that point.
--
Canada = Hollywood North
Doug135

join:2008-01-12
Laredo, TX

Re: Financing is probably a key factor..

I agree with that too. Sprint just goes all out on one idea, then switches to another. You would think at least they would have a backup plan for this or at least had the sense to know that something like this was going to happen.

en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA

Re: Financing is probably a key factor..

I personally like Sprint's attempts at deploying new products ahead of others, and being more agressive at it and pricing as well. Unfortunately, they just haven't been always very successful at it.
--
Canada = Hollywood North
jc100

join:2002-04-10

Re: Financing is probably a key factor..

En,

It's one thing to take initiative and be aggressive. It's another to make unwise financial investments. With the first, you have your ducks in a row, and have no problems expanding. Then, if issues arrive, you are not stretched too thin to find solutions. Unfortunately, sprint falls into the second category. They have too many problems on their plate, and keep adding more. Eventually, something has to give. The plate can only hold so much before it breaks. Hence, Sprint needs to focus on its core issues first. 1) Technical Support 2) Billing 3) Customer Service (which goes hand in hand with one and two). Once these are resolved and you see customer satisfaction, then build out. Otherwise, you're left losing money and pissing away more on expansions that yield little additional benefits.

en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA

Re: Financing is probably a key factor..

Yup - they have no money to spend, and are bleeding customers. With their status as junk, they can not afford to expand until they fix their current issues and retain / expand their customer base. The only benefit to expansion would be if they sold off the expanded business, and this is not the time to do it, as it has no customer base yet.
--
Canada = Hollywood North
jc100

join:2002-04-10

Re: Financing is probably a key factor..

Exactly. It's like building a new company and then hoping to profit from it immediately. Rarely does that happen. The same with new services. It takes time for it to acquire value. In the mean time, its considered a loss. Sprint can't afford any more losses at this point.
AJICQ499087

join:2001-12-01
Louisville, KY

1 edit
Sprint does need to come up with a solid business plan and follow through instead of backing out of various projects. The Sprint/Nextel merger has NOT been a smooth ride just like this Xohm launch project. This financing problem is another example of poor business planning by Sprint.
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low cost and fast speed is what customers want in broadband
Alphy

join:2001-12-31
Troy, MI

How long will it take?

Before we have serious competition in wireless? When will I be able to have wireless data and a reasonable amount of voice minutes for $50 a month?
EPS4

join:2008-02-13
Hingham, MA

Re: How long will it take?

There is competition- just not price competition.

Why not intel

Beg more money from intel... Their the ones pushing for the technology. I mean common. They want something but no one but Sprint is willing to invest...

I didn't think the cable co deals would fall through anyway. Its kinda upsetting to see a good technology go down the drain... but then again I wouldn't fund sprint either.

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:39

1 recommendation

Re: Why not intel

That's actually a good question, given Intel has spent so much on hardware and proclaimed WiMax the "greatest invention since the Internet itself..."

What's another billion between friends?

TuPaK

join:2002-07-21
San Gabriel, CA
I feel that this is the only hope for a near-future launch.

axus

join:2001-06-18
Washington, DC
Reviews:
·Comcast

no backhaul??

It seems like a pretty crucial piece of the equation... I thought cell phone companies provided their own lines to the cell towers, you mean they are renting space from other companies? You'd think they'd save a lot of money over time if they ran the lines themselves.

The fact that they didn't run any lines in advance shows they weren't so confident about rolling this out. I suppose its fair to wait for the financing, but they probably should have gotten that first before making any plans at all.

wifi4milez
Big Russ, 1918 to 2008. Rest in Peace

join:2004-08-07
New York, NY

1 edit

Re: no backhaul??

said by axus:

It seems like a pretty crucial piece of the equation... I thought cell phone companies provided their own lines to the cell towers, you mean they are renting space from other companies? You'd think they'd save a lot of money over time if they ran the lines themselves.

The fact that they didn't run any lines in advance shows they weren't so confident about rolling this out. I suppose its fair to wait for the financing, but they probably should have gotten that first before making any plans at all.
Most cell companies dont own the physical plant in the ground, so they need to purchase these from a LEC/CLEC/ISP, etc. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that one "not yet 3G" GSM provider has been purchasing a lot of ethernet circuits from a company out to their cell towers....
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bobgwen

join:2001-07-07
Bartow, FL

Re: no backhaul??

doesn't start with a "T" does it?

wifi4milez
Big Russ, 1918 to 2008. Rest in Peace

join:2004-08-07
New York, NY

Re: no backhaul??

said by bobgwen:

doesn't start with a "T" does it?
I would say you are headed in the "right direction" with that.
--

tc1uscg

join:2005-03-09
Clinton Township, MI
said by axus:

It seems like a pretty crucial piece of the equation... I thought cell phone companies provided their own lines to the cell towers, you mean they are renting space from other companies? You'd think they'd save a lot of money over time if they ran the lines themselves.

The fact that they didn't run any lines in advance shows they weren't so confident about rolling this out. I suppose its fair to wait for the financing, but they probably should have gotten that first before making any plans at all.
Rumor has it, Sprint was trying to get away from using the likes of VZ or AT&T for that last mile copper to a tower. I think there is a company being used to set up microwave systems to get away from that access need. »www.fibertower.com/corp/index.shtml comes to mind. I think Sprint, is doing the right thing to survive.

Guspaz
Guspaz
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-05
Montreal, QC
kudos:23

Why is it taking so long?

Bell Canada and Rogers rolled out their nation-wide WiMax network (up to 3mbit/s per customer) over two years ago, in March 2006. Why is it so hard for Sprint to deploy what Canada deployed years ago?

ureihcim3
Freshly made

join:2007-12-16
Miami, FL

Good to freaking go

So what happened to that all IP network huh? How about that trash. Well thanks for letting everyone know now that you don't have the capacity to even operate the network you so badly been boasting.

*Michieru puts his cover on and walks the other way*

So much for competition, so much for everything else, it was all just a waste of time after all. I guess we never will really have a choice other than GSM technology and what they feed us. This news is more catastrophic than the first quarter results.

Whatever.
--
michieru.ath.cx
ydoucare

join:2003-03-12
Lafayette, IN
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

Re: Good to freaking go

Jeez, they didn't CANCEL the entire project, it's just delayed. If you expected a company in as poor of shape as Sprint to make their original deadlines then you were a little too optimistic.
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Asus P5N-E SLI|E4500|2 GB DDR2 800|8800GT|Audigy + Front Bay|Hauppauge PVR-150MCE|Vista Ultimate + XP Pro SP2 dual boot|Sony Vaio VGN-CR290|Sprint Mobile Broadband|Netgear WGR614v8

ureihcim3
Freshly made

join:2007-12-16
Miami, FL

Re: Good to freaking go

I did not expect them to meet the deadline, but I did not expect an issue such as capacity or backhaul to be their problem. That's something you need to analyze before you even decide to get into a project like this.

Sprint no longer has their foot on the ground either or so it seems. Something good better come soon, or else it will just be to late to do any major change and the amount of damage will simply overshadow any little success they had.

okctim

@cox.net

Have you ever had...

I currently have sprint service. I know you are gonna say,,, ohh sorry. However, I have not had any problems. The current data rates are awesome for where I live. Oklahoma City. The Customer service is being worked on as I type this message. My wife is a supervisor with them here at the call center, LOTS of Changes and people that don't care gettin the axe.

phoneboy3

@shawcable.net

You mean ISP's require backhaul?

You mean providing wireless Internet will require backhaul connections? Whatever they are paying these executives it's too much!

And......I thought one of the strengths of WiMAX was it's ability to provide long distance high bandwidth backhaul connections as well.

I think they are just making excuses business issues rather than technical issues because these people can't be that stupid.

old_dawg
"I Know Noting..."

join:2001-09-22
Westminster, MD

Re: You mean ISP's require backhaul?

said by phoneboy3 :

You mean providing wireless Internet will require backhaul connections? Whatever they are paying these executives it's too much!
Even their former executives like say, Gary Forsee, for instance. 85K/month for life in retirement bennies alone!

Gawd, it's good to be king even when your not king anymore!
--
"Our network engineers are aware of the problem..."