This is an important step for the 4G technology, as it potentially enables WiMax subscribers to get service while moving outside of their home network's geographical coverage area. It also enables device manufacturers to create products that can utilize multiple WiMax networks from different providers.
"Member companies have yet another tool to facilitate the advancement of their WiMax technology innovations and make 4G a seamless experience for customers," said John Dubois, global roaming director of WiMax Forum, in a statement. "We are already beginning to see how WiMax technology will drastically improve the next generation of broadband applications and services, and this roaming readiness program is another example of how the WiMax ecosystem is working to extend the availability of services to subscribers."
With a theoretical speed of 75 Mbps downlink speed, WiMax blows the current 3G networks out of the water. WiMax also has a time-to-market advantage over other 4G competitors, as Sprint already has live networks in Baltimore and Portland, Ore.
But most of the large telecoms around the globe like Vodafone and AT&T are backing Long-Term Evolution technology for the next mobile broadband network. The LTE standard is still being finalized and networks are expected to be rolled out in 2010 or earlier.
While many businesses are still implementing 3G connections for their mobile workers, WiMax and LTE could represent a substantial productivity boost. But the looming 4G battle may make enterprises wary about what technology to adopt. InformationWeek broke down the positives and negatives of the next generation of mobile broadband, and the report can be found here (PDF).