$5 billion WiMax network no-shows at CTIA

Gizmodo's gearheads got their grabby hands on hot new WiMax-ready gadgets at this week's supersized Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association trade convention in Vegas. WiMax is a sort of turbo Wi-Fi that promises cable modem speeds through thin air. But what will Nokia's N810 connect to? Washington Post financial reporter Yuki Noguchi observed a big black hole on the stage at which the WiMax Singularity had been expected to appear today. It was like Steve Jobs walking on stage at Macworld, reaching into his pocket, and not pulling out an iPhone. I've 100-worded her report.

Notable was the lack of news from Sprint Nextel on its WiMax venture with Clearwire, cable operators Comcast and Time Warner and Silicon Valley giants Google and Intel. Sprint Chief Executive Dan Hesse was expected to announce during his keynote speech this morning a $5 billion venture between the companies. No dice. Instead, Hesse said the company will move forward with its WiMax plans, called Xohm, but didn't mention any partners. Sprint, which has suffered from a customer exodus, has bet on WiMax technology to gain future subscribers. Yet finding funding for the nationwide network, which is estimated to cost around $5 billion, has been challenging. "The lack of an announcement raises questions about whether or not a deal will happen after all," said an analyst.
(Full disclosure: I'm a Washington Post Co. contractor through Slate. The folks at Boing Boing and TechCrunch taught me this nifty trick of "disclosing" my highfalutin' connections to pass off self-promotion as personal integrity.)