Sprint is coming in at a disadvantage in the race to get WiMax out, because they are not in the Triple Play business. AT&T will role out WiMax first to places that are already on U-Verse. This means they will be in places they are already fibre heavy. Sprint doesn’t offer Television and Data Services so they are at a disadvantage not having Points of Presence in as many neighborhoods.
AT&T U-Verse, and Verizon’s Fios give them not only a set of customers to get addicted to fast Internet everywhere, but the foundation to build fast Internet everywhere. Consolidating customers on to a single bill, solves multiple problems for the companies.
Single bill customers are only going to be data junkies at one location at a time. You are likely home, or not, so you are self load balancing. Where as a customer base that is on Comcast’s 50meg Cable Modem, leave the house and start sucking up WiMax Data. This means Sprint has to have pipe enough for Peak times for "out of house" and Comcast has to have enough for in home peaks. Where as AT&T or Verizon get to share pipe for both times allowing them to have less peaky bandwidth usage, which will save them big.
Single bill customers aren’t as likely to jump ship, or not pay a bill. If you break a contract and get put in to collections on your phone it doesn’t really hit you until you go to buy a car, or a house, but if you don’t pay your phone bill and your TV and Internet go down as a result you are a lot more likely to pay the bill, rather than miss an episode of American Idol.
I agree with Om Malik, selling backhaul bandwidth to Cellular providers who don’t have Pop’s in a given neighborhood will be big business, and selling shovels to gold diggers is always a safe bet. But I think Sprint is the biggest player who is going to need this service, They just need to buy Comcast, or RCN or both, or the other way around.
As the TCP convergence happens, you are going to see that guy with the fattest pipe in the most places will win. The thing that worries me is the digital divide between people who live in wired neighborhoods and those who don’t. Soon the economic, and educational divide will widen between those who live in places that have the infrastructure and those who don’t. (and I live in a place that doesn’t).
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