Baltimore becomes the first Xohm WiMAX city

Sprint's Xohm WiMAX service begins this morning in Baltimore, Maryland. Customers will be able to pay for daily or monthly access to the 4G wireless service without long-term contracts or usage caps.

The expected average downlink speed for the service will be 2-4 Mbps and will cost either $10 per 24-hour block of time or $35 per month for home access and $45 per month for "on-the-go." Sprint also offers multi-device packages in anticipation of future hardware availability.

The Xohm hardware is currently limited to the desktop modem by Zyxel for $79.99, and the expresscard modem by Samsung for $59.99. A USB XOHM modem made by ZTE is listed but not yet available.

Sprint is making its hardware exclusively available through "mom and pop" computer shops in the Baltimore area, and not yet through its wireless stores or through major retailers. BetaNews went to several locations this morning to see how these small shops were handling the launch. PCW Computer just outside of Baltimore said Xohm devices will not be available until October 11, but that interest today has been high. They had received about four calls an hour inquiring about the service since they opened their doors this morning.

By not requiring a contract, Sprint is encouraging non-customers to test the service out to see for themselves. For a service that has thus far been difficult to establish, a strong public reaction is needed if it is to progress. Now it's just up to Sprint to provide the first devices so the public can use it. Stay tuned for BetaNews hands-on tests with Sprint's new Xohm WiMAX network.

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