11:05 AM

WiMax Is Scarce, But Many Consumers Know Why They Want It

A survey finds that nearly half of the respondents plan to use WiMax for e-mail, while 31% cited online media viewing and 28% cited mobile TV and music downloading.

WiMax: It's not really here yet, but consumers are already itching to use the wide area wireless broadband service, according to a survey commissioned by Motorola.

Moreover, the 600-plus survey respondents indicated they would use WiMax in traditional ways (for e-mail, news, TV, and music downloading), but they also anticipate using WiMax for new things such as for traffic reports and entertainment in cars for children.

"Consumers clearly want to eliminate broadband cables or wires to access high-speed Internet connectivity," said Fred Wright, senior VP and general manager in Motorola's Home & Networks Mobility unit, in a statement.

Nearly half of the respondents (49%) said they plan to use WiMax for e-mail, while 31% cited online media viewing and 28% cited mobile TV and music downloading.

The survey, released this week by market research firm Centris, brought additional good news to firms working to deploy the nascent wireless technology: 57% of the respondents want broadband wireless service to be available wherever they're located, even while on vacation or at live sports events.

The survey also turned up some interesting applications that would appeal to some consumers. "Eleven percent said they would use a mobile broadband Internet connection to check restaurant wait times, menus, and daily specials online while coordinating dinner plans with busy friends," according to the survey.

Noting that Motorola is marketing WiMax-enabled handheld devices, Wright said wireless service providers are beginning to deliver long-range wireless broadband service in an effort to make it as common as wireless phone service.

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