AT&T WiMAX Trials In Atlanta

Following closely on BellSouth’s pre-WiMAX announcements for Florida and Georgia, AT&T this week announced an important pre-WiMAX trial that they will launch in Atlanta. The AT&T trial is likely to target enterprise customers, like their trial in New Jersey. This particular experiment will focus on the economics of a WiMAX deployment, the customer experience, and the operations of the network, and will run through 1Q2006. It is also possible that this trial may be able to use certified WiMAX equipment, if the certification process begins prior to equipment deployment, however would pose quite a tight schedule, which is why we expect this to be pre-WiMAX. Nevertheless, this is exactly the kind of WiMAX case we at Techdirt feel is appropriate: a fixed broadband solution for enterprise customers. It is even more natural coming from a LD carrier, which as a class, have always craved an economical last mile solution to effectively compete with the RBOCs. (Remember that even though the SBC purchase of AT&T is proceeding, AT&T must continue to operate as an independent entity until the deal is done.) Update by Mike: One interesting point on this is that AT&T is using “loaner” spectrum from the FCC rather than unlicensed spectrum — which might raise questions about how AT&T is going to offer WiMax for real eventually without the necessary spectrum.

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