Milestone in Baltimore as Xohm Launches

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In what is best termed a delayed milestone, Sprint Nextel has finally launched its Xohm WiMax service. As we reported, the service has been in soft launch for months, but now is being offered to the public. Pricing is $10 per day, $25 for monthly home use and $30 for a mobile plan. The Baltimore offering features a $10 daily pass, a $25-a-month home plan and a $30-a-month on-the-go plan.


Sprint wasn't the only company to make WiMax news recently. Last week, Motorola introduced the USBw 100, a WiMax USB adapter. The company hopes the device will find uses around the globe: Versions for the 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands all were released. The company says that the device, which is aimed at providing mobile and nomadic wireless coverage, will be available in the fourth quarter.


The launch of Xohm and the increasing availability of adapters and other gear are symptomatic of increasing competition in the lucrative mobile broadband market. This competition will do nothing but grow hotter. FT.com notes the Baltimore launch and juxtaposes it against a GSM Association announcement -- which the writer suggests was timed to steal some of Xohm's thunder -- that mobile operators and PC and chipset vendors have announced a plan under which High Speed Packet Assess (HSPA) circuitry will be preinstalled in devices.


This European Communications piece provides a good overview of the 4G landscape -- at least to the extent that it is known today. As the telecommunications industry evolves past 3G, there are a number of potential development roads to take. The story -- though it has a European flavor -- aptly describes the candidates, which include Long Term Evolution (LTE) and Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB) in addition to WiMax. The bottom line is that the future is not set and that it is unclear precisely which direction the industry will take -- or if the platforms will somehow coalesce.


Though expected, the Baltimore launch is big news for mobile broadband. There are other WiMax projects up and running around the globe, but there is significant symbolic importance in the launch of Xohm, the highest profile project featuring Sprint and Intel, two of the highest profile WiMax supporters.