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Wireless Networking Communications Hardware

Companies Betting on WiMAX 106

PreacherTom writes "This week, two companies — NextWave and Clearwire — filed to go public and make their fortunes with WiMAX, a wireless broadband technology expected to make serious inroads into the telecom market by offering a high-speed alternative to DSL, Cable, and other current offerings. Market researcher Gartner Dataquest expects the North American WiMAX services market to swell from 30,000 connections in 2006 to 21.2 million by 2011. Could this be the new backbone of the mobile effort?"
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Companies Betting on WiMAX

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  • by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:19PM (#17315174)
    Wireless (GSM) data is expensive. You need to pay out the nose for it, and you're probably going to need a bulky contract.

    If WiMAX lets me connect my devices "in the wild" at a reasonable price and without a hefty contract, then it'll be a winner.

    To businesses, nobody's going to drop Verizon or Sprint or Cingular or TMobile's data services for a new offering as long as they're already in an existing relationship and entrenched in hardware (sorry, we just moved to Treos or Blackberries). It's the you and me's of the world -- and we need cheap devices, contracts and rates, or it's just another "thing" that our company pays for.
  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:28PM (#17315320) Homepage Journal
    The reason why they're pushing WiMax is they can charge us more for that than they can for free Wifi, and it's all about the greenbacks, not the tech.
  • Yes Please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grumpygrodyguy ( 603716 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:29PM (#17315324)
    Could this be the new backbone of the mobile effort?

    God I hope so, we all know how pitiful the state of broadband is in the US...DSL is cramped(it's a twisted pair of two copper wires) and the cable companies are acting like the greedy pigs they are(expensive, anti-upstream, abusive).

    The consumer is desperate for an alternative. Without competition we might as well be living in Communist Russia. Just look at AMD vs. Intel, or nVidia vs. ATI....that is how innovation happens.

    This is something we've been waiting for for far too long. Broadband is probably the single-most important innovation of the last 10 years, and it's also one of the most stagnant(especially in the US). We desperately need a new competitor in this market.
  • by bbsguru ( 586178 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:54PM (#17315644) Homepage Journal
    You're really comparing Fossils and Ferrets there: The Model 'T' was revolutionary in that it made available a new technology that people already wanted available in quantity, and at a price most could afford.

    Cell phones, like automobiles, were adopted first by the wealthy, then as prices dropped and supplies increased (a connection there???), they became ubiquitous.

    As WiMax enters the market, most of the country is a vastly different landscape. The need for broadband is already being met by other means in most places. Near where I live, there is a market for WiMax (being served by Clearwire), because there are no wired alternatives. It is a large market geographically, but not so much in population. That's the kind of market Clearwire has been working in, becasuse it offers them the best chance of success. No real competition means they are selling on the availability of access, not the features of WiMax.

    When WiMax becomes the issue, which it will when they expand further into markets already more widely served, the pitch will have to be more specific. So far, I haven't seen WiMax roaming happen, but that would be the benefit that offers something over the local telco or cable company.

    21.3 Million in 7 years? Maybe. Is that significant in a world with so many alternatives? Maybe so.
  • by spyder913 ( 448266 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:58PM (#17315696)
    Judging by the comments on Broadband Reports [] they sound just as bad as wireless phone companies in the contract department -- automatically resubscribing people to another year of service and charging $180 to break out of "contracts" early.
  • I can't wait (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MrCrassic ( 994046 ) < minus language> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @03:40PM (#17316156) Journal

    I have been eagerly waiting for WiMAX to come out for some time now; I think that this technology would be revolutionary to even the typical Joe RAZR.

    As one poster already mentioned, wireless internet can be costly (even though some cellular companies are driving this down; last time I checked, T-Mobile has the full package for $20 a month). WiMAX would make revolutionary inroads to mobile connectivity, as well as better mobile devices in the long run. I think that if this technology flourishes, we should expect to see full PDA-like cell phones coming out and being used by almost everyone. That means that we would have more choice for real work being done on our phones rather than to have to get a Treo or a clumsy Windows-Mobile device as our options.

    Also, this would be great for Skype and its users, since we would be able to talk on our phones while paying for internet, which is a lot more worthwhile than paying for lots of minutes that may not be used.

  • by karikas ( 785024 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @03:44PM (#17316216) Homepage
    As a new customer of Clearwire (I just signed up for their services in Seattle a month ago, one year contract but month-to-month was available) I have to say that I've been very happy with the performance, though the speed leaves a bit to be desired. My upload rate is about 250kbps on a good day, which falls within their promised 256kbps upload speed (so I shouldn't be surprised). The 1.5Mbps download rate comes down at 1.6 or 1.7 at times, so that's a lovely thing.

    Why did I choose them? Cost really, I don't need a raging net connection and this was $10/less per month than any other solutions as I don't have a phone or cable line to bundle with for the big providers. Also they do offer the magic of accessing their network from anywhere in their range, which I haven't tried yet, but ideally I can access it in the mall, on the outskirts of town, or another city where they have service (a very wonderful thing). Unfortunately it involves carrying around their modem, which is the size of a modem, and not that practical for everyday use.

    Thunderstorms are fine! Weather has been hell in Seattle for the last month, and aside from losing power due to a windstorm I've held my connection through rain, wind, snow, no noticeable decline in connection speed.

    While I would like the available speeds to be higher I've been pretty happy, even if they're making a good profit on it I'm still saving money compared to a land-based solution.

    Captain Karikas of []
  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @04:08PM (#17316584) Journal
    Spain's experience is not necessarily transferrable to other countries. For example, the United States. 36 of the states have a lower population density than Spain, and seven of them have a population density less than a tenth of Spain's. In fact, the average population density in the US is less than that of Spain. Thus people are spread further apart. Or to put it another way, there is a lot more distance between one person and the next. Just because people in the Spanish countryside are within range, does not mean that people in, say, the Texas countryside will be in range.
  • by profplump ( 309017 ) <> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @05:19PM (#17317648)
    So I can pay the cancelation fee at the start or the end of the contract? That's not much of a choice.

    We already decided AT&T couldn't force us to buy their land-line phones; why are cellular companies allowed to do the same thing?
  • by profplump ( 309017 ) <> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @05:31PM (#17317890)
    No, I'm expecting that I can buy a used phone for $30 from some other customer who already paid their $300 and who has since canceled their service. Or that I can use any technically compatible phone that I purchased from any other vendor. Why is the service provider the only place that I'm allowed to by phones?

The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.