Sprint (S) Pumps Up Volume On WiMax

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Sprint (S) has indicated that it will spend as much as $5 billion on its national WiMax network between now and 2010. It had already told Wall St. it would spend close to $3 billion before the end of next year. The big wireless company is betting that the future of high speed handset connectivity is with WiMax and not the standard 3G products being used by Verizon Wireless and AT&T (T).

Sprint also gambled by telling investors that it would have positive free cash-flow from its WiMax push by 2009 and that the initiative would produce $2 billion to $2.5 billion in revenue by 2010.

Sprint has not made it clear about how it will cover costs to manage two redundant networks, one for its current wireless customers and the other for it new WiMax subscribers. It may be a risky business.

Sprint also said that it was in active talks with Intel (INTC) about building WiMax-enabled PCs. Computers will be able to work on the network along with voice handsets.

Douglas A. McIntyre