3GSM Wrap-Up: Where Was WiMAX?

At the 3GSM show, there was one notable absence: WiMAX. It wasn’t that there was no talk of WiMAX: Intel was here, making an announcement with Alcatel to develop mobile solutions. But if there was something at the show that nobody heard, this was the proverbial tree falling in the forest. Perhaps it is that this show is exclusively focused on mobile technology, something that WiMAX is certainly not at this point, or perhaps it is simple recognition of the minimal traction WiMAX has had among mobile carriers (carriers tipping their hat and saying “We’re looking at WiMAX” is NOT traction.) Now I know this is not the popular take on WiMAX in the press and analyst community these days, I’ve read stories that talk about this Intel-Alcatel announcement like it was a big deal and marks progress. But the reality is the show had very little to say about 802.16. Heck, even Siemens Communication President Lothar Pauly said “WiMAX is more for nomadic or stationary usage. Second, HSDPA is available today; WiMAX is available tomorrow. Third, HSDPA can use the same frequency and same network as 3G. With WiMAX, you need to build a new network, and you need new spectrum, which hopefully will not be auctioned.” While Alcatel CTO Neil Ransom said, “From a price point perspective, WiMAX will have a tough time competing against ADSL.” And these are WiMAX Forum members.

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