Sprint has formally announced its XOHM (pronounced zoam) WiMAX mobile broadband service. It will launch in Baltimore, MD in September. WiMax faces a challenge from LTE, which AT&T and Verizon have adopted as their 4G network standard. But WiMax is out of the gate sooner. Consumers, of course, don't care about any of this. They just want access on the go.
XOHM will eventually be incorporated into Clearwire, the mobile broadband provider majority owned by Sprint but also invested in by Intel, Google, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.
XOHM is an ISP replacement offering that allows people -- rather than using a network card -- to tap into Internet access wherever they are in the coverage area(s), which should eventually be national and even international. It renders hotspots obsolete for subscribers.
There are lots of interesting mobile implications for non-phone mobile Internet access products such as Apple's iPod Touch and Nokia's Internet Tablet(s) and so on. Such products can also potentially become cell-phone substitutes with mobile VoIP products (Skype, Fring, Jaxtr, iCall, etc). Once national coverage is established we should see development of a range of interesting mobile Internet access devices that are not cellphones.
XOHM has also done something interesting for its homescreen or start page. It's formed relationships with a host of local content and infrastructure providers:
These companies will provide content to XOHM users that will automatically change based on location (in coverage areas). It will thus eliminate the need to input location in most cases, unless you're looking for a business, event or restaurant somewhere else. There are also significant implications for greater location precision with ad targeting on the Internet for subscribers.
All of these scenarios of course depend on consumer adoption and continued rollouts by Sprint/Clearwire of the service. But the benefits to consumers, assuming affordability, are significant: perpetual access across devices (laptop, mobile) for a single price.