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12/11/2007
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Mobile WiMax Set To Take Off

Mobile WiMax will win more than 80 million subscribers globally by 2013, according to a report released on Tuesday by Juniper Research.

Mobile WiMax will begin to take off in about two years and win more than 80 million subscribers globally by 2013, according to a report released on Tuesday by Juniper Research.

More than 50 trials and network contracts for mobile WiMax, also known as 802.16e, have been announced in 2007 alone, and the technology is of interest in different parts of the world, according to the report.

"Mobile WiMax will represent a single-digit proportion of the global mobile broadband base by 2013. This will be a tremendous achievement for this new technology platform which has recently been boosted by the International Telecommunication Union's endorsement of it as an International Mobile Telecommunications 2000 specification," said Howard Wilcox, the author of the Juniper Research report, in a statement.

The WiMax standard got worldwide approval in October when the ITU, an agency of the United Nations, agreed to recognize it as a next-generation wireless technology. WiMax joined a list of recognized mobile technologies, such CDMA, FDMA, and TDMA, by being included among IMT standards.

The report also found that the top mobile WiMax markets will be the United States, Japan, and South Korea. But the technology's success will depend on the emergence of low-cost laptops and the inclusion of broadband capability in a range of devices, such as portable media players and game consoles.

Verizon has announced plans to do just that using a different fourth-generation wireless broadband technology called Long Term Evolution. In addition to mobile phone makers, the carrier will work with consumer electronics makers to develop other types of devices with embedded LTE connectivity.

Users everywhere want hyperconnectivity, meaning the ability to get connected to the Web via different types of devices, such as MP3 players, digital cameras, and even car systems, according to another study by networking equipment provider Nortel and consulting firm CSMG Adventis.

There is one ongoing issue that has yet to be resolved and that will affect the future of WiMax. Sprint's acting CEO Paul Saleh told investors that the carrier is considering selling its stake in the WiMax network it has been building at a cost of $5 billion. What company or entity Sprint would sell its WiMax network to remains a mystery at the moment.

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