Friday, February 22, 2008

What will be the effect of an Open Xohm platform?

Sprint has announced the opening of the Xohm as a platform through APIs and an SDK. Ostensibly it will allow device manufacturers, application developers and 3rd party service providers to build items which take advantage of the Xohm networks in ways that are difficult and expensive currently.

It is, perhaps, the first example of a telco taking advantage of it's relationship with it's customers or put another way following the Telco2 strategy. It will also allow applications and services to be developed that are mere dreams (if they have been drempt at all) currently. Think games or VoIP services that ask for better quality service for the duration of usage rather than all the time or buying or buying something by snapping a barcode where the bill is attached to your access bill and delivered to your address by Amazon's fulfilment service from an address supplied by Sprint.

It is the next logical step from Google's push for open access to devices and applications for 700Mhz. This could have a rather interesting effect on wireless/mobile market direction. It is hard to compete against open with closed.

I foresee this changing the dynamics of the 700Mhz spectrum usage as well. The 700Mhz was important as it was nationwide and provided better in-door coverage. The in-door coverage, I think, is really a non-starter as by the time the 700Mhz network is established, short range WiMax access points will be fairly well distributed and many in-door areas will be able to roam from WiFi to WiMax. Femtocells and devices that can roam across different wireless networks will also be in abundance.

Sprint's move has made it very likely that who ever the owner of the 700Mhz spectrum is, they are going to have to follow the open access provisions and even go the same distanced to providing an open platform. Now wouldn't it be interesting if Google has won and decided to use the 700Mhz for a WiMax network that follows the Sprint Xohm platform strategy? Makes Sprint a likely candidate for building out Google's network if they have won.

Tags: Sprint, Xohm, Google, 700Mhz, Wireless, WiMax, Disruption, Telco2