Clearwire and WiMax

The Economist writes:

As well as providing broadband access in rural areas, WiMAX could challenge the duopoly of cable operators and telecoms incumbents. But despite much hype from Intel, WiMAX’s main cheerleader, it has taken far longer than expected to get the standards agreed and the technology working.

Clearwire’s way around this problem has been to offer a precursor technology to WiMAX that can be upgraded once the technology and standards are sorted out. Its subscribers100,000 of them so far, in America, Belgium and Irelandget a wireless modem, which they plug into a computer. The modem is portable, so users can connect from anywhere within a region, but not yet mobile, so users cannot connect from a moving bus. Now flush with cash, Clearwire will buy more spectrumit already owns more suitable spectrum in America than anybody except Sprint Nextel, a mobile operatorand lots of base-stations from Motorola. Intel hopes to benefit from all this in future by selling WiMAX chips that can be built into laptops.

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