["disgruntled investor"] Whitworth sees WiMAX as “a drain on the company’s overall cashflow” and “too speculative an investment,” according to an unnamed source in the WSJ. (In double PR talk that could easily be Whitworth himself.)
Lord knows that Sprint has set a high bar for their WiMAX rollout - 100 million people covered by the end of 2008. The interesting question, though, is whether or not Sprint's investment in WiMAX is as "speculative" as Whitworth makes it out to be. GigaOM points out that Sprint is actually spending less on WiMAX than it would on upgrading its 3G or has on integrating Nextel. So it could be that WiMAX is actually a really safe bet - if it fizzles, it would be a smaller "sunk cost" than other wireless standards.
Or maybe it's just institutional memory. Sprint used to be fond of saying they have "the only all-digital nationwide network that was built from the ground up," so perhaps they want to do it all over again with WiMAX. And who can blame them for wanting a fresh start after all the hassles they face with Nextel's crazy network.
Add Sprint's plans to Google and the crazy 700MHz auction and suddenly 2008 looks to be the year when my dreams of Wireless Net Neutrality are either realized or dashed. My money's on "dashed," but that's just because I know this industry all too well.