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Summary:

WiMAX, at least in Silicon Valley, is like the proverbial Loch Ness Monster — it’s out there somewhere. We’ve heard about it, we’ve talked about it, but we’ve never actually used it. Meanwhile the rest of the planet, especially the emerging markets, are already happily dabbling […]

WiMAX, at least in Silicon Valley, is like the proverbial Loch Ness Monster — it’s out there somewhere. We’ve heard about it, we’ve talked about it, but we’ve never actually used it. Meanwhile the rest of the planet, especially the emerging markets, are already happily dabbling with WiMAX. Well, that changes today. Clearwire has announced a new initiative called the WiMAX Innovation Network that will bring 4G wireless services to the Silicon Valley campuses of companies including Google and Intel using core Internet Protocol Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) infrastructure equipment from Cisco.

Why the launch? Developers, developers, developers! They will be able to get ahold of WiMAX in a roughly 20-mile radius of Silicon Valley later this summer, ahead of a Bay Area-wide commercial launch set for 2010. Will this “innovation” push be enough to drum up excitement for WiMAX, especially now that LTE is beginning to gain traction? Unlikely! Clearwire and WiMAX seem to have little or no chance of beating Metro PCS, T-Mobile USA, AT&T and Verizon.

  1. @Om,

    I’d personally like to see WiMAX succeed from a competitive market point of view. However, I’d add that if WiMAX does not succeed, one fatal flaw in execution will certainly be poor launch timing to support Silicon Valley, and the San Francisco Bay Area in general. In my view, the Valley and bay area should have been launch priority number one for Xohm/Clear.

    My $.02.

    Best,

    Curtis

    1. Curtis

      Forget the launch in Silicon Valley — they had a narrow window of opportunity against LTE and they have lost it. I don’t think it is going to be easy.

  2. great news! what we like to see – a real use of wimax.

  3. Om, I hope in the future when you or Stacey write about the WiMax/4G/HSDPA you include the upload speeds as well as download. Published theoretical download speeds is just marketing hype unless there is an appropriate upload speed to match.

  4. I agree that WiMax likely will not be able to beat out LTE long term, but I think it has a fighting chance in the United States. U.S. consumers like to be somewhat stubborn with standards, look at the CDMA/GSM split, and the non-standard allocation of 3G. If you want to take it even further, look at the lack of the metric system in the states.

  5. We have heard this for years now… “Clearwire plans to reach 120 million U.S. residents with a national WiMAX network by the end of next year”

    Nokia (NYSE: NOK) has panned the prospects of 4G wireless standard WiMAX, comparing its fate to Betamax, the early video format that emerged in the 1970’s and was superseded by VHS. The FT.com reports that Nokia’s head of sales and manufacturing Anssi Vanjoki said at a launch event that he didn’t see WiMAX taking hold anywhere in a big way. He said, “I don’t think the future is very promising [for WiMAX]. This is a classic example of industry standards clashing, and somebody comes out as the winner and somebody has to lose. Betamax was there for a long time, but VHS dominated the market. I see exactly the same thing happening here.”

    It’s especially harsh considering that the handset giant is usually much more circumspect about the comments and criticism it makes. It also still has a seat on the board of the WiMAX Forum, the industry group that was set up to promote the technology and which Nokia was a founding member.

    EtherLinx could have done this with Long Range WiFi at a fraction of the money already sunk in WiMAX. EtherLinx Long Range WiFi (up to 50 miles) has over One (1) Billion compatible client devices in the consumer market, vs. the case of “only about 30 devices” with WiMAX. WiFi is now the faster of the two technologies and WiFi devices will not only connect to the network, but interconnect directly with hundreds of different devices in the home, office, car and public space — some computing devices in their own right, others ordinary household objects.

    EtherLinx “Wireless Broadband’s Holy Grail”

    The solution to “get true broadband to every community in America” with Low Cost Long Range ubiquitous WiFi.

  6. Before LTE has even seen the light of day, I see some folks already writing of WiMAX :(

    The 3G operators in 2002 said that WiFi will never succeed, because it is unlicensed and will provide poor service. Today more WiFi devices sell every day and 3G devices of all kinds combined. Why? Because it was enabled by an open ecosystem like IEEE 802.11 and the WiFi Alliance where numerous companies play on a level playing field.

    Today, it takes a really innovate iPhone with all the copy products to really sell 3G. Not to mention the 3GPP standards body that is a closed club of the Ericssons, Nokias and Qualcomm and the big operators who are only interested in self preservation than really innovating for the consumers.

    Mobile WiMAX is created by IEEE 802.16 and WiMAX Forum again a truly open ecosystem. Also in the ink on LTE standards has not even dried. They today where WiMAX was in 2005. So WiMAX has a clear 2-3 year lead.

    So my bet is on WiMAX. LTE is for Long Term Evolution so they will always be focused on the long term. WiMAX meanwhile will win, whether Mobile operators like VZ, AT&T and Vodafones of the world like it or not.

  7. mobileinsider Thursday, April 2, 2009

    Sorry to be so harsh, but anyone who actually believes WiMAX is an “open eco system’ needs to stop reading press releases and believing the hype. I have a bridge I’d like to sell you…

    I have seen mobile WiMAX work. WiMAX is not as impressive as today’s HSDPA or even some of the HSPA networks under deployment. WiMAX .16e should worry about HSDPA and HSPA which are both here today! With LTE, even cable should watch out (metro deployments).

    A mass-market eco systems means hundreds to thousands of hand-held options and numerous options when it comes to laptops, and 50-200 networks worldwide covering over 4B PoP with over 1B subscribers.

    The next big claim is; WiMAX is royalty & patent free (ok, sorry – I just made myself laugh so hard my keyboard has Starbuck’s coffee all over it). This is the biggest claim of them all. Read into 802.16 history and you will find out what I mean. Also, a company in San Diego let the world know years ago that they have $800 million reasons to lay claim to OFDM mobility and such.

    WIMAX coming to Silicon Valley is great. If its’ free – make use of it. If you have to pay for it — shop around for mobile options that work when you are in the car — where you want to be.

    Twitter/mobileinsider

  8. Wondering 2 things:

    1. Is this service for the backhaul or the last mile?
    2. Is this mobile (e) or fixed (d)?

  9. Photos: Clearwire’s WiMAX In-car Video Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    [...] Clearwire’s WiMAX In-car Video As the battle for 4G supremacy heats up, Clearwire last week at the Cable Show in D.C. showed off an in-car entertainment setup powered by [...]

  10. The entire Mobil(e) versus Fixe(d) deal is what killed WiMAX in the first place. By developing an evolutionary path (16e) that was not compatible with itself (16d), neither in terms of hardware nor radio planning, the vendors fed a white elephant that no one wanted to own. The telecom operators agree that WiMAX is a great technology and meets their needs, yet are scared to sink money into something the vendors will themselves render obsolete in a year or two. Not everyone can be as lucky as MS/Intel ;-)

    Nokia seems to have hit the nail on the head. I am not sure if LTE is any less hype than WiMAX. But with Wi-Fi getting faster (802.11n) and HSDPA/HSPA improvements, no one’s really holding their breath for WiMAX.

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