Without any notice to current customers with or those early adopters with dormant accounts, Sprint has locked down the Baltimore Xohm WiMAX network and is not letting inactive hardware be turned back on to allow free upgrades to Clear hardware.
Sprint’s Xohm network was one of the first two WiMAX deployments in the United States. We watched with excitement as the towers were raised in Baltimore and the ceremonial ribbon was cut on the new high speed wireless network.
But not three months after Xohm debuted, Sprint and Clearwire agreed to merge their 4G wireless assets under the brand name “Clear,” and the fate of the Xohm brand was sealed.
Since that time, Clearwire has rolled out new WiMAX networks in 14 markets, has made plans for networks in as many as 80 cities, while the lone Xohm network sat in wait for Clear to come in and take over.
It now appears that time is approaching, and Sprint has all but shut down its Xohm operations with no attempt to communicate this fact with early subscribers.
The activation of new accounts on the Xohm network was frozen four days ago. When you log into xohm.com, you get forwarded to the customer page, and if you click the “learn more” link, you’re redirected back. All sales information has been removed, and when you try to click “about us” or “contact us,” you’re linked to a beta.xohm.com URL that is password protected.
If you log into the site with a user account, it still says “Do you have a XOHM device but no XOHM Service? If so, click on the ‘Buy a New XOHM Service’ button so we can activate your device and get you the service you need to start using the XOHM network.”
But there is no button.
When Rob Wray of mp3car.com tried to re-activate some extra Xohm equipment on his currently active account, customer service representatives and managers refused to do so, and instead suggest he return the hardware to the vendors.
So customers who let their accounts lapse due to the uncertain future of the network or those who had an allotment of extra equipment for workforce deployments are out of luck with no sympathy from Sprint.
This is because new equipment will be required when Clear takes over the Xohm network at the beginning of 2010, and only customers with active equipment will be eligible for a free hardware upgrades.
Xohm equipment “might be compatible with the new Clearwire network…but probably not.”