Struggling wireless carrier Sprint Nextel was hoping to stand out from rivals AT&T and Verizon Wireless by rolling out a new, super-fast, nationwide wireless network while its competitors were still in early planning stages of theirs. Not so fast.
At the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Sprint exec Ali Tabassi said the network is behind schedule and that the company hasn’t even finalised its budget. A “soft launch” in Chicago, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., which was supposed to start last year, is “going forward this spring.” Sprint had initially planned to build out the network to reach 100 million people by the end of 2008; now the company says it’s unlikely.
End of the world? Nope, especially if Sprint spins out the unit and merges it with Clearwire (CLWR), which uses the same technology. And new Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has his hands full fixing more important parts of his business. But every step Sprint slips behind on WiMax, its competitors catch up. Sprint reports Q4 results on Feb. 28.
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