What's next after TDS WiMAX launch?

TDS Telecom's launch of WiMAX in Madison, Wis., isn't the first WiMAX launch by a small telephone company, but it has the potential to get very interesting and influential as it expands.

So far, the carrier's wireless sibling, U.S. Cellular is not involved, and TDS Telecom is not yet offering mobility as part of its WiMAX service. It also hasn't solidified any plans to go outside of the Madison area with WiMAX. However, this small commercial roll-out is giving U.S. Cellular a good look at WiMAX just as Sprint is soft-launching (and preparing to broad-launch) Mobile WiMAX in U.S. Cellular's home market of Chicago.

TDS' Madison success rate also could help other telcos focused on mid-sized markets such as college towns and suburbs decide what to do about WiMAX. TDS and others in its position have long made arguments for the quality and reliability of landline services. However, if TDS leads with WiMAX in a competitive broadband market, as TDS CEO Dave Wittwer said it will, it could change the game for independent telcos that have had to engage in DSL or cable modem wars with larger competitors.

For more:
- here's our story at FierceTelecom.com

- Dan