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April 03, 2008


Steve Stroh


We've actually had a bit more success with WiMAX in the US. One of the biggies in fixed WiMAX is Towerstream, who's quietly been using fixed WiMAX on the new 3.65 GHz band since the FCC allowed experimental use several years ago. Now that 3.65 GHz is "production", it's being used quite a bit, especially by the more savvy Wireless ISPs in rural areas.

On Mobile WiMAX, it already is happening in the US. There have been several multi-city deployments by smaller operators, but in second-tier markets where they could get 2.3 or 2.5 GHz spectrum. AT&T is deploying Mobile WiMAX in Alaska.

Clearwire's deployments are ALL "pre-WiMAX" / proprietary Expedient systems, except for their first two Mobile WiMAX deployments in Sacremento and the Portland, OR area. They haven't announced any plans to convert their existing markets to Mobile WiMAX - likely due to capital constraints.

Standing alone, neither Sprint Nextel or Clearwire won't be able to put enough momentum behind Mobile WiMAX for it to be a game-changer in the US. If they were to merge their US Mobile WiMAX operations, then they'd have momentum, but it's looking doubtful that either company has enough vision to really see this.



Brough Turner

Thanks for the update. I haven't been tracking WiMAX in the US, beyond press announcements by Clearwire or Sprint, so it's good to hear it's being adopted by rural ISPs and that 3650 MHz is in production. On the other hand, I gather the total adoption to date is ~800K subscribers worldwide. Even if it's over a million, that's tiny compared to billions of GSM/3G (and eventually LTE) subscribers or the over 300M (and rising) WiFi chipsets per year.

If WiMAX doesn't get to large volumes, it's likely to be supplanted by LTE for licensed use and next gen WiFi for unlicensed use.

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