WiMAX Hype Hits Full Stride

I’ve been commenting off and on here about how Intel seems to be driving the WiMAX hype-meter up to a “Spinal Tap-ish” 11. Unfortunately, many reporters fall victim to the WiMAX forum’s doublespeak, such as this reporter from Reuters and Yahoo! News. The title of the story, “Move Over 3G, Here Comes WiMAX” violates one of our biggest pet peeves here at Techdirt: the declaration that X technology will kill Y. In the real world, X seldom kills anything but newsprint and the integrity of the reporter. So here’s the rundown on why this article is bunk, and why WiMAX won’t be killing 3G anytime soon. 1)WiMAX is not yet a standard; 2) WiMAX as it emerges this year is a NON MOBILE technology – it needs a directional antenna mounted to the roof of the customer building aimed at the tower with a good line of sight (tell me how that compares with mobile cellular 3G???); 3) The mobile version of WiMAX is promised for 2006-2007, which means it should be out even later. By then, 3G (which was promised for 2002!) will be firmly installed. 4) Intel isn’t always right: Didn’t Intel tell us HomeRF would kill Wi-Fi until 2001, when they finally accepted Wi-Fi? Now their hype machine has many believing they invented Wi-Fi. Conclusion: WiMAX is a good technology, but realistically it is still a vaporware standard that in the short to medium term will only occupy point-to-point wireless backhaul and T1 replacement roles. That’s not 3G’s turf at all.

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