Re-assessing WiMAX

Publisher's Note:  

If you're someone based in Europe or who follows the European wireless market, I have some good news: Today we launched a new, Europe-focused edition of FierceWireless. The new publication, called FierceWireless:Europe, will cover the European wireless industry on a twice-weekly basis. Sign up is available at  

FierceWireless:Europe will be written and edited by our new U.K.-based correspondent, Paul Rasmussen. Paul has been writing about mobile communications for more than 12 years, and we are thrilled to add him to our team. You may see his coverage in this publication from time to time.   

We at FierceMarkets are particularly excited about FierceWireless:Europe. It's our first-ever international edition, and we have high hopes and expectations.   -Jeff  

p.s. Here are some useful links related to the new publication:  
Email sign-up: 
Press releases: send to [email protected]
Advertising opportunities:  contact [email protected] or call +1 202-628-8778 x 18

When Sprint Nextel said in the summer of 2006 it would deploy WiMAX as its 4G technology, the WiMAX community tried very hard to keep its excitement in check, lest it seem like Sprint's endorsement was the difference between success and failure. Now, in the wake of Sprint's other problems, the carrier's WiMAX partnership with Clearwire has ended, and several published reports suggest the future of Sprint's own WiMAX based Xohm offering is in doubt. Again, we'll see a lot of poker faces.

And, once again, we'll see the ritual re-assessment of WiMAX, something the WiMAX community probably got used to a long time ago. The broadband wireless technology has had many different potential deployers, users and killer apps in its lifetime already, and though it has standards, interoperability programs and a deep, rich ecosystem on its side, the questions of viability continue.

It's probably a good time, then, to be reminded that outside the U.S., there are a number of different types of carriers--both wireline and wireless--already using WiMAX successfully in different ways. Inside the U.S. market, the question of viability remains valid. Could another major wireless carrier back WiMAX? Is there room for WiMAX in the telco/cable TV duopoly? Could Google, Apple or a collective of entertainment companies fund the national WiMAX network Sprint and Clearwire intended to create through partnership? Broadband subscriber growth has been slowing--does that make it more likely or less likely that telcos and cable TV companies might consider WiMAX worthy to fill broadband coverage gaps or reach new customers?

If just one of these questions could be answered in the affirmative, then WiMAX backers might not have to worry too much what happens with Xohm. - Dan