Sprint Delays WiMax Commercial Rollout

The launch will not be in April, a Sprint spokesman says.
Author:
Publish date:

Updated from 4:14 p.m. EDT

Sprint-Nextel's

(S) - Get Report

commercial launch of its high-speed WiMax network has been postponed, the company said Wednesday, marking a setback for the fledgling technology.

"Our commercial launch will not be in April," says Sprint spokesman James Fisher. "It will not be in April and will be in later this year. We're in the soft launch in Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. We are making good progress on the soft launch."

Fisher added that all the logistics for a commercial launch of the WiMax technology need to be readied so there are no issues when it makes its debut. "The change in rollout is not related to the technology," Fisher says. "It's related to making sure all of the various logistical elements of the rollout are ready."

Shares of Sprint were down 11 cents, or 1.7%, to $6.57.

The telecom company has sought to merge its WiMax division with

Clearwire

(CLWR)

. In March, Clearwire said it has been in talks with Sprint for a deal that would create a new company that combines Sprint's licenses in the 2.5-gigahertz wireless spectrum and Clearwire's spectrum in the same and adjoining air waves.

Sprint is hoping to use the technology to provide its shrinking customer base with fast wireless data transfers over long distances, although funding for the project has been an issue. Shares of Clearwire dropped nearly 10% following Wednesday's announcement to close at $13.23.

Recently, rumors about the joint venture received new life after

Comcast

(CMCSA) - Get Report

and

Time Warner

(TWX)

were said to be considering offering their backing.

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

has indicated it's interested, and

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

is believed to be thinking about taking part in the project.

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse gave a presentation on the WiMax technology at the CTIA Wireless expo Tuesday but did not mention the potential joint venture with Clearwire or possible funding from the cable operators.