WiMAX, good for the planet, not for USA?

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Reuters has a well reported, if slightly off target story on WiMAX. Even though tons of phone companies including Sprint and Qwest are trialing the emerging fixed wireless technologies, it is clear that the high cost of deployment and entrenched duopoly of cable and DSL service providers is going to prevent WiMAX from becoming a mass market phenomenon in the US.

“The WiMax market in other geographies will dwarf that of North America,” Forrester analyst Charles Golvin, tells Reuters, pointing out that it is a technology that makes perfect sense for “some parts of Europe and developing countries where broadband is not very common.”

In-Stat estimates that it would cost about $3 billion to build a nationwide network. Paying off the cost of the network would take too long. “Increased broadband competition, price compression and high subscriber acquisition costs threaten to drive margins ever lower,” In-Stat analyst Keith Nissen added. He expects only 3 percent of broadband users around the world will use WiMax services by 2009.

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Craig Plunkett

Wi-MAX schmymax, who cares what kind of equipment is deployed, as long as an alternative delivery system gets going. Once again, as long as the feds don’t take away the ISM bands, then broadband wireless will take off community by community. As long as the duopoly keeps raising prices, that leaves some headroom for smaller operators to make a living mining the seams that are marginal for the big carriers, and grabbing bunches of customers at a time, like condo complexes, and business improvement districts.

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