WiMax ready to go national in the US

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WiMax ready to go national in the US

More choice of mobile networks for surfers.

WiMax will soon be a reality for mobile surfers in the US, supplementing rather than replacing Wi-fi and fast cellular networks, according to a top US analyst.

The future of mobile internet access and voice calls will be a case of "get me the fastest connection available" or "get me the cheapest connection available", predicts Dr G Jerry Purdy, vice president and chief analyst at market watchers Frost & Sullivan. 

Purdy's prediction is based on the rise of Clearwire, the WiMax company founded in 2003 by veteran mobile entrepreneur Craig McCaw. 

Clearwire has just completed a US$900m round of funding with fresh injections from Intel and Motorola, two of WiMax's biggest backers.

With the new cash Clearwire aims to build a US-wide network from its current 29 metropolitan areas and patchy rural test-beds. 

Clearwire also has networks in Denmark, Belgium, Ireland and Mexico run through partners.

The standards for WiMax are not yet set, so these networks currently use pre-WiMax technology developed by NextNet. 

US operator Sprint has also announced plans to build a nationwide WiMax network, while Intel will include WiMax chipsets alongside Wi-Fi in its future notebooks. 

WiMax will eventually provide data transfer speeds of 10Mbps and higher, making it ideal for rich media. But Clearwire's vision also includes VoIP services.

"Do not dismiss Clearwire as a wireless data services company focused on just replacing DSL and cable," said Purdy.

"It is interesting to note that Clearwire is rolling out wireless broadband services that include traditional internet access and voice services using VoIP.

"In other words, this is just the start of what could become a new high-performance wireless network."
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