Mass Market for WiMax Still Years Away

The mass market for WiMax technology faces a number of challenges, but will probably reach its potential within five years.

"Now that the certification of WiMax equipment has started and coverage areas have begun to expand beyond basic trials, WiMax equipment suppliers and chip makers face a much less uncertain future," said Stephen Entwistle, vice president of the strategic technologies practice at Strategy Analytics. "Even so, most remain cautious."

The U.S. market for WiMax technologies, like power amplifiers, transceivers and other infrastructure, as well as services and applications, differs dramatically by region.

Hoping to provide some momentum for the fledgling industry, Samsung , Intel and Motorola last week disclosed the creation of a new venture to embrace WiMax technology as the fourth generation (4G) of wireless technology. The companies are working to build out Sprint's major WiMax network, said Ephraim Cohen, a spokesperson for Samsung.

The project will use 2.5 GHz wireless spectrum, which covers 85 percent of the households in the 100 largest U.S. cities. Once deployed, it will be the largest, single band of wireless spectrum in America.

The companies plan to launch the system -- offering advanced, wireless broadband -- in a number of trial markets by the end of 2007. By 2008, the companies hope to be able to reach 100 million customers. The expansion is then planned to continue, as Sprint said it will invest US$1 billion next year for the technology and nearly $2 billion in 2008 on the 4G network roll-out. The investment is supposed to reduce the "cost per gigabit" of the service for customers.

Samsung said it has experience working with these kinds of advanced networks, as it has already deployed a 3G network in South Korea. To ensure that the goal of deployment is reached, Intel and Motorola are working with Sprint and Samsung to develop portable data and consumer electronics devices.

News source: Tech News World

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