Video: Austin WiMAX Launch Event

Verizon Test

WiMAX Test

Sprint (s S) held a happy hour last night to show off the WiMAX launch in here Austin, Texas, so I wandered over for some BBQ and broadband. I want to love WiMAX, but I can’t get excited about the promise of upload speeds of some 400 kilobits per second, which are only a wee bit more than what my Verizon (s vz) 3G connection delivers. However, on the download side things are decent for a wired network and awesome for a wireless one.
And before any WiMAX boosters despair, I was told that the local 4G network should continue to improve over the next few weeks, which is why I’m holding off on an all-out review. For a sneak peak, check out the experience in the video below. You can see some freezing in the Hulu video stream during the demo; John Taylor, the Sprint spokesman I interviewed, said the location we were in had only two bars of coverage, which may have been the problem. Given the paucity of devices on display for mobile use and the lackluster network quality so far, I’m still thinking the bet that Clearwire (s clwr) (which is powering the 4G part of the Sprint network) and Sprint made on WiMAX is a bad one, but I’m hoping to be proven wrong.