Survival May Depend on Untested Service
Sprint Nextel is trying to reverse a string of recent disappointments.
Having lost ground to its rivals over the past year and struggled with problems with its old Nextel network, the Reston wireless company is hoping to find its footing by building a high-speed network using an untested technology called WiMax.
Sprint’s $3 billion investment has gained support of some technology companies and analysts. On one hand, it has drawn skepticism from Wall Street analysts, some of whom worry there is not enough consumer demand for the nascent technology. But it has the potential to surpass the speed of its competitors’ networks and, if successful, Sprint says the network will let customers wirelessly surf the Web at more than twice the speed of current cellular networks.
“Sprint looks like it’s in the position where it needs to do this to survive,” said Kirsten West, principal analyst with West Technology Research Solutions, a market-research firm in Mountain View, Calif. “Without it, they see themselves as being far less competitive.”
(Lead for this story from Dewayne Hendricks posting to the Dewayne-net mailing list.)