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WiMax devices are going on the cheap! Does it make sense for anyone to buy one?

S4GRU

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by Jeff Foster

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Thursday, March 8, 2012 - 4:30 PM MST

 

Hearken back to April 2010 when Sprint announced the HTC EVO 4G and thus, became the first carrier to introduce a 4G device. Oh, the excitement! It was 4G WiMax, but who cared? Not many thought LTE would be such an overwhelmingly dominant 4G technology so quickly in the future. Of course, we later learned that WiMax didn’t pan out in America in the way Sprint had hoped.

 

LTE has now become the global standard in fourth-generation wireless. Verizon and AT&T are using LTE for their 4G networks and most other U.S. carriers have planned or are even starting to implement their own LTE network. Sprint has now begun the progression of transferring from WiMax over to LTE for its 4G technology.

 

At the CES exposition, Sprint announced three new LTE devices, two of them being smartphones. The LG Viper, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and a dual 4G WiMax/LTE hotspot. It looks to be several more months before any of them are released. Earliest rumors calling for Mid-April. However, Sprint's last final word was Mid 2012. Sprint has said the first LTE markets won’t go live until approximately June of this year. The initial launch markets officially announced by Sprint are Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Kansas City and Baltimore, with additional markets coming online later in the year. (S4GRU has announced many of these other markets *wink*)

 

So what happens to existing stocks of WiMax smartphones? Promotional Sales, of course! Sprint has committed to keeping the WiMax network running up until 2015. That is several more years of WiMax network availability. A network that Sprint estimates will get significantly less burdened between now and 2015 (see graphic at bottom of page). More free space for you to stretch out those data consuming legs.

 

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WiMax Subscription Forecast. WiMax subscriber numbers are expected to drop by 10% this year and then really start dropping fast.

 

The closer we get to the middle of 2012, the more aggressive the pricing will likely get and the better the deals that will probably come available. Especially from the third party retailers. After all, who wants to be stuck with worthless paper weights when the goodness of LTE is right around the corner?

 

If you’re in the market for a phone now, depending on your needs, you may want to wait for a LTE device. However if your phone is acting froggy, you dropped it last night, or its just on its last legs and you need a replacement, then maybe a new WiMax device is a good choice for you.

 

Best Buy recently had several WiMax devices on sale with a new contract for as low as $49.99. Including the Evo 3D. These deals are likely to keep repeating themselves all over the internet into the forseeable future until all WiMax devices supplies are wiped out.

 

If you live in a solid WiMax market, and you're in need of a new device, it may make sense to pull the trigger and pick one up. Or if you have solid 3G coverage, and don't even care about 4G service. You will be able to score some really solid devices for great prices. And if you find a great deal, post it in the S4GRU.com forums!

 

WhyMaxxx photo courtesy of Gizmodo.com



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My EVO 3D will be up for sale as soon as LTE devices are available and I decide between Galaxy Nexus, SGSIII and whatever new variant the EVO will be. Mostly hoping Sprint will buy it back for $150 like they did my EVO 4G.

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You will be lucky if you even get half of that from sprint. As much as I love my evo 3d it just doesn't carry the same value like the evo 4g did a year after release. So by the time the evo hd lte is released I figure sprint will give no more than $75 to $100 max for a evo 3d.

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If you need a handset now and live in a WiMax market that isn't going to have LTE until sometime late next year, why not? Sprint indicated WiMax will still be supported until 2015 or so.

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I'm not in a WiMax area so I'm waiting. If I lived in a decent WiMax area, I would think about it, especially for the teenager in the house.

 

Amazon has the WiMax devices on sale now. Samsung Galaxy S Epic II 4G Touch $49.99. Evo 3D $39.99. With contract of course. Looks like the others are on sale also.

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If someone travels internationally, the Photon would still be an excellent buy. It might be some time before there is an international phone offered by Sprint that also has LTE, but I can't be sure. I wouldn't think there would be room for all the antennas.

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I've said this a few other places so forgive me. I urge anyone seriously thinking about getting a wimax device to look at the bigger picture. In the land of 22/20 month contracts it's not only apt to consider the device today but also where it will stand in a year or so. I bought my Evo 4G the first few weeks of launch. April 1st is upgrade eligibility time and I consider myself lucky. Had I bought my phone a year later than I did I would be stuck with this device for that much longer. I mean, don't get me wrong, the Evo 4G deserves induction into the Android Hall of Fame. But the sad truth is the device is stuck in time. No more updates, same internal memory issues, etc. A decent device today will not necessarily be a decent device throughout your contract. Also, wimax is said to be supported until 2015 but is the consensus really that it will remain at the same level as today? I just don't think once that chart drops to minimal subscribers to wimax that they'll start pulling back one way or another. It just doesn't make sense to support a network that three people are on - even if those three people are happy with their awesome wimax data speeds. lol

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*I just think once that chart drops.... (oops)

 

Also. support for wimax through 2015 essentially means wimax phones will be sold for about another 12 months. Buying a wimax phone any later than that and you risk the network being decommissioned before the end of your contract.

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Also, wimax is said to be supported until 2015 but is the consensus really that it will remain at the same level as today? I just don't think once that chart drops to minimal subscribers to wimax that they'll start pulling back one way or another. It just doesn't make sense to support a network that three people are on - even if those three people are happy with their awesome wimax data speeds. lol

 

There are also a lot of people using Clear's WiMax for their home internet. I actually heard someone complaining about their Clearwire speeds getting worse today. This is the 3G Clearwire service. He was saying that he doesn't really have much else of a choice, but he wished that his service would stay the same as it was. Clear might keep good support to keep people using WiMax, or once they roll out LTE in all their markets, they might leave WiMax to rust away, effectively forcing all the current customers to switch to LTE. I would think that it is 20 months down the road before you see that happen though, so it might be fine.

 

There is also the fact that when mass amounts of LTE devices are sold to owners of the Evo, Evo 3D, E4GT, Photon, Nexus S, E4G, etc you will see craigslist/ebay saturated with WiMax handsets, and supply and demand will push the price down. It is possible that someone who can't "upgrade" to a new phone can buy a used WiMax phone that is an upgrade from their current device to wait it out until LTE hits their market or until phones are released with multiple band LTE support and maybe even LTE advanced. I picked up an Evo 3D off craigslist the day before the iPhone was released from someone who was upgrading her 3 month old phone to an iPhone.

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Chappo, I don't disagree. For millions of customers, your points are right on. But for millions more, it won't matter. Even Verizon only has 5% LTE saturation rate. Meaning only 5% of their total customer count use LTE service regularly. I have a feeling that Sprint's LTE saturation rate will be the same. To many people, they just aren't going to use the LTE much.

 

There also millions of people who don't care about the latest Android upgrade. Those people aren't like you and me. And they aren't like most of the geeky members of S4GRU. S4GRU members only make up about 40% of the page views of our articles. So we also write articles that appeal to the mainstream.

 

Also, there are millions of customers who have many lines on their account. Like me. I always upgrade to the newest device. I don't need to wait 2 years. Every 6 months or so, I upgrade to the best flagship device. I then hand my device down to my wife. She hands hers down to my son, etc. With 4 lines, I am getting a new device pretty frequently. People in a position like this can keep up with all the latest and are not fettered by devices not getting upgrades or aging, etc.

 

I do agree with the point that buying a WiMax device into 2013 starts to not make much sense. Also, since no new WiMax devices are coming to market, by January 2013, the existing WiMax devices on the market will be getting pretty long in the tooth!

 

There are just many different types of customers out there with many different types of needs. And for some of them, it still makes some sense to buy a WiMax device. Thanks for your comments.

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There are just many different types of customers out there with many different types of needs.

 

Very true. I suppose it boils down to a cost benefit analysis to determine which option is right for each individual circumstance. That's when staying informed, anticipating changes, and reading S4GRU can really benefit you. lol

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You will be lucky if you even get half of that from sprint. As much as I love my evo 3d it just doesn't carry the same value like the evo 4g did a year after release. So by the time the evo hd lte is released I figure sprint will give no more than $75 to $100 max for a evo 3d.

 

Part of that is because the EVO 3D wasn't anywhere close to as popular as the original EVO.

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