WiMAX supporters hoping for the marriage between Sprint and Clearwire were clearly disappointed earlier this month when the two companies were unable to come to terms on a WiMAX partnership. The two firms had hoped to create a nationwide WiMAX operation that would cover both large metropolitan and mid-sized markets in the United States. Unfortunately, Sprint's recent poor financial performance turned into a stumbling block for the WiMAX joint venture, although representatives from both companies have not ruled out the possibility of the two communications service providers teaming on some form of a WiMAX partnership in the future.

In spite of this "speed bump," the growth of mobile WiMAX appears inevitable. Given the appetite in this country for Internet web browsing, and the desire for mobility, devices such as WiMAX-enabled cellular telephones will provide broadband Internet access anywhere within a WiMAX network. Information on WiMAX is plentiful, with industry companies invited to visit the WiMAX Forum (www.wimaxforum.org) or WiMAX.com (www.wimax.com) for more information. In addition, the IEEE (www.ieee.org) is offering a Webcast on December 5th, "WiMAX: Ready for Prime Time," moderated by former Wireless Systems Design Editor, Ron Schneiderman. As with Bluetooth and WLAN wireless technologies before it, considerable industry firepower supports fixed and mobile WiMAX, making it a good bet for future success.

by Jack Browne, MWRF Technical Director