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« Two Operators Step up to Offer WiMax in Ireland | Main | AT&T, Intel to Collaborate »

December 8, 2004

Does WiMax Have a Future?

By Nancy Gohring

Stories about the confusion around WiMax and the potential for WiMax have been running for ages, but they keep coming: That’s testament to the fact that much of the controversy surrounding WiMax hasn’t been addressed. The confusion stems mainly from vendors that continue to either flat out refer to their product as WiMax, even though the certification process hasn’t yet started, or use the term “pre-WiMax,” which can be equally confusing in its implication that the product can easily be upgraded to WiMax.

Wi-LAN’s president and CEO doesn’t help clear things up in this article. He says that Wi-LAN guarantees that it will upgrade its products to be equal to or better than a “pure” WiMax network. Yes, but does that mean that the upgraded products will be certifiable? Because already there are plenty of products on the market that meet the parameters of WiMax but they aren’t yet technically WiMax.

The market for WiMax has also been increasingly put under the microscope, partly because more and more mobile operators around the globe are launching their 3G networks. There is still a debate about how the two networks might co-exist. Because the 3G networks are coming to market before true WiMax gear even exists, perhaps some in the WiMax camp are worried about how 3G might affect the potential WiMax market.

I suspect that another concern for the WiMax industry is that despite the amount of buzz that has surrounded WiMax for some time, no marquee operator has pledged to use it in a big way (certainly in part because the gear isn’t there yet). Some big names have joined the WiMax Forum and some big deployments of broadband wireless networks are in progress, but there’s no big market leader from the operator corner lending the movement credibility. That’s just what IDC claims in a recent report, noting that only a niche opportunity exists for WiMax through 2008, absent a major service provider’s firm commitment.

Posted by nancyg at December 8, 2004 3:50 PM

Categories: competitive landscape

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