Xohm WiMax: A First Look

Sprint and ClearWire officially launched their Xohm (pronounced Zome)WiMax service today in Baltimore, the only city where the service is officially up and running. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time using it and I have no idea yet of how extensive the coverage is (I plan a full review in a couple weeks) but the first impression was good.

I spent some time riding around Baltimore’s Fells Point neighborhood, watching Hulu on an Acer netbook. The video never broke up or paused for rebuffering, something I’ve learned not to expect with 3G wireless, especially when moving. Cell handoffs appeared to be seamless. But, of course, the only people on hte network were the folks at the preview no it’s not quite a fair test of what service will be like once lots of people are using it.

Xohm says users can expect download speeds of at least 2 to 4 megabits per second with bursts to 10 Mb. If real, that’s competitive with cable Internet service and significant faster than most DSL. Xohm is offering the service at a teaser rate of $30 a month, going to $45 after six months. There’s a really appealing “Pick 2” option that combines service for your home (requires an $80 modem, to which you can connect a Wi-Fi access point) with mobile service for $50 a month. No contract is required for any of the services. Xohm also plans to offer a day rate for occasional users.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.