No disrespect to Clearwire, but I’ve long maintained that the future of WiMAX, the wireless broadband technology is outside of the U.S. The end of 2009 report issued by The WiMAX Forum has only reaffirmed my belief. According to the report:
* There are 519 wireless broadband Internet deployments based upon WiMAX in 146 countries around the world.
* 112 of these deployments came in 2009.
* There are 95 WiMAX networks deployed by 2G mobile operators.
* Yota, a Russian WiMAX operator, now has 250,000 active commercial users and has broken even as a business.
* Clearwire has over half a million subscribers.
* Huawei, Airspan Networks, Cisco and Alvarion are key suppliers of WiMAX gear, while Intel and Beceem Communications are leading WiMAX chip suppliers.
* Nokia, Nortel and Alcatel-Lucent are three companies that have beaten a hasty retreat from the WiMAX equipment business.
In the U.S., WiMAX could stage a stunning comeback, thanks to the many millions of dollars being given away as part of the broadband stimulus program. According to some estimates, nearly 300 WiMAX applications were submitted for the funds, about 25 percent of the total applications, or about $1.6 billion.
From the looks of it, in 2010, WiMAX carriers will see competition from LTE operators, which are slowly rolling out their networks.
Map courtesy of WiMAX forum. The red pins represent networks based on 802.16d technologies while 802.16e technology-based networks are represented by the blue pins.