Uncommon Wisdom

Feb 23 2010   1:52PM GMT

Sprint’s WiMAX phone: A voice competitor to itself?

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

Sprint is expected to release its first WiMAX phone this summer, and the launch may open a bunch of issues and opportunities in the world of evolving voice services. The issue is less whether something like the Voice over LTE (VoLTE) standard is helpful in a technical sense than whether any 4G VoIP business model makes sense.

Verizon’s decision to let Skype onto smartphones shows that operators are willing to cede some calling to over-the-top (OTT) voice players because it’s inevitable they’d lose in some spaces. How many spaces, then?

Will Sprint decide to make WiMAX voice a competitor to its own 3G voice, or will it make it an adjunct to data services offered on data devices? That’s the big question this summer may answer.

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