Looks like America’s first 4G WiMax network will be shut down soon. Sprint has confirmed that they’ll look to sunset the currently operational WiMax network on November 6th, 2015. Sprint’s WiMax network was the first one advertised as “true” 4G (technical specifications at the time would have argued with that), and it did bring substantial improvements over traditional 3G data.
WiMax was quickly supplanted by LTE as the dominant technology, though, which is what caused AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon to begin their rollouts with the technology. That, coupled with Clearwire’s inability to efficiently build the WiMax network out in times of financial turmoil, eventually caused Sprint to jump onto the LTE bandwagon and essentially spell its impending doom.
There aren’t many consumers still on Sprint’s 4G WiMax as they stopped putting the radios into smartphones, tablets and hotspots from mid 2012 onward. And for those who are on WiMax phones at this point? Sprint’s prepared to give you several sufficient options for upgrading to newer technology:
- Continue using the phone without WiMax functionality
- Terminate service (contract termination fees will not be assessed if you are still under contract and decide to go this route)
- Get a free LTE device (we assume you won’t be able to get a top-end phone without paying top dollar).
It’s also worth noting that MVNOs who use Sprint’s WiMax networks will also be affected, though many of those MVNOs already offer access to LTE and should be offering similar transition options. It’s been a wild ride, WiMax, but ultimately you just weren’t up to scratch. Let’s hope the