Broadband wireless has moved beyond the pipedream stage, according to a new worldwide survey of 175 network operators.
More than 80 percent of the respondents believe that commercial WiMax services will be launched by the end of 2007, and almost half those say it will be this year. The survey results are included in a new report, "Service Provider WiMax Deployment Plans," from Heavy Reading.
The advent of WiMax networks has been delayed by a prolonged standards process and by vendor and service provider uncertainty about the availability of radio-frequency spectrum for the new technology. In January, however, the WiMax Forum certified the first wave of WiMax equipment, which is coming to market during the next few months.
"In terms of hype cycles," notes the Heavy Reading report's executive summary, "WiMax may actually be eclipsing some of the industry's earlier 'savior' technologies, primarily because it is viewed as a linchpin for the future convergence of wireless and wireline networks, in addition to promising advancement for broadband wireless services and providers."
Among the survey findings:
82 percent of respondents expect commercial WiMax launch by the end of 2007
38 percent expect it this year
60 percent of telecom companies expect WiMAX to have a profound long-term impact on their service offerings
The confidence in upcoming WiMax deployments is slightly lower in North America (where 29 percent of respondents said they expect launches this year) than in Europe (42 percent) and Asia (44 percent).