WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a system that works in many ways similar to the now standard Wi-Fi concept. In many ways it is an evolution of that form of broadband internet and is often used to connect Wi-Fi hotspots together. This capacity is becoming known as a solution to the critical issue of the “last mile” in any given internet connection business model. The last mile is a concept that embodies the final roll out of hard lines and cable in an area that is harder to access, or less populated, and therefore more expensive for the company. Wi-Max is a form of internet connectivity that does not need these hardline cables and while it is slower to take off in the US due to the entrenched dogma of hard cable internet adherents, it has become increasingly popular in many other countries where the “last mile” was incredibly hard to complete such as Russia and China.
Sprints WiMax ambitions come into play via their desire to create a 4G network that anyone can access in an open ended manner. Without the necessity of maintaining an extensive cable system in out of the way places they can rapidly bring the superb high-speed of 4G, often in and around 20 MB per second download speed, and develop the technology to its suspected maximum potential of 70 MB per second. This will all be done wirelessly using base stations and receiving units. While the other two companies that are larger in size than Sprint desire to keep things as they are and advance the WCDMA concept, Sprint seems to be interested in innovation and allowing a greater range of freedom to their customers.
At present Sprints WiMax is designated to become a widely deployed wireless broadband network that will allow any device, open APIs that will allow for any application, and best of all no contractual obligation. This means that Sprint seems to be opening up the WiMax concept to its customer base on a pay per use basis. There will be no extensive contracts. The customer pays for as long as they wish to use the network. A business model of this type has been something that the Internet and computer industries have sought after for many years. Sprint is simply the first, and currently only, US based company willing to try this approach.
If Sprints WiMax truly takes off this could mean a technological revolution in the way the average individual uses the internet. There will no longer be a forced requirement of using solely dial-up internet for individuals that live in sparsely populated areas or in hard to reach locations off the beaten path in the United States.
Of equal beneficial importance is the fact that Sprint seems determined to make certain that new handsets and devices that will be made compatible with their WiMax network that already possess Wi-Fi chips will also be upgradeable to a similar chip that also acts in a capacity to allow for WiMax networks to be used. This means the customer can actually choose which network type they desire based on preference and their location. All in all this concept of easy to access unlocked internet connectivity for everyone without a contract seems like a major contender in the current market.