Can WiMAX Slay the Dragons?

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on July 19, 2007

The plot thickens with a new technology called WiMAX. Billed as both a replacement for your cable and DSL, and a sort of wide-area mobile Wi-Fi, it seems the U.S. will be getting a nationwide network a lot sooner than expected.
Sprint and Clearwire, the two companies that are rushing to build a nationwide network, just announced a surprising agreement to collaborate on building a nationwide network by the end of 2008. Recent speculation had centered around the two simply signing an agreement to let customers roam on each other’s network agreement similar to what we’ve seen with the largest cellular players. That means that if you go out of coverage in Sprint’s territory, you can pick up coverage in Clearwire’s without a hassle.
After similar talks broke down a couple of years ago, the two seem to be clearly feeling the heat from the inroads cable and telecom players have made in recent months by offering bundled packages of TV, broadband and phone service with consumers. Both are making a multi-billion gamble on the idea that consumers will want to have super-fast Web connections to do the same three things without tethers—meaning not just in Wi-Fi hotspots or in the office or home. Clearwire recently signed a co-selling deal with satellite providers DirecTV and Echostar for the TV portion of that proposition.
It’s a race now to build the network and educate potential customers on the difference between what they have now and what WiMAX can offer.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://blogs.businessweek.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/

Reader Comments

Tech Rant

July 20, 2007 07:50 PM

To be fair the US needed to move to a more advanced technology, as it lacks the advanced networks that Europe and parts of Asia tout. EDGE crawls behind the more advanced 3G networks such as UMTS, so an early move to a 4G network is a wise move.

Robert Syputa

July 24, 2007 01:31 PM

Wireless technology is evolving to enable 'always connected personal broadband'. This differs from cellular in that the primary service is not a package of services chosen by the network service provider but an open access service on which the user can decide which content, services and programs they use. They may decide to use a set of programs and services made available through the network provider portal or they may download a new Web 2.0 conferencing program, a hot new version of YouTube created for mobile video capture, or something else being dreamed up in a dorm room or basement by a new set of lucky and intuitive thinkers.

Like the "PC Revolution", the benefit is not described as being able to do things with new technology: mainframes computed and kept control of information pretty well at the time but PCs put that power into peoples hands. Similarly, what WiMAX enables is greater degrees of freedom on the part of users and organizations to harness the raw power of computing and information. The power is not primarily unleashing new technology but unleashing human creativity and communications. Yes, operators can prescribe very attractive sets of services and content. But the inclination is for users to want to have their own say in what they consume and create.

Post a comment

 

About

BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

Categories

 

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!