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Research: People Prefer WiMax To 3G Or Wi-Fi Wireless Data

The results come from an In-Stat survey that pitched the high-speed wireless technologies head to head. In the study, the majority of U.S. consumers chose WiMax over Wi-Fi or
April 16, 2007
The results come from an In-Stat survey that pitched the high-speed wireless technologies head to head. In the study, the majority of U.S. consumers chose WiMax over Wi-Fi or 3G cellular data services. The one caveat, and this is a big one, is that the study was based on descriptions of the technologies and not actual usage scenarios.In-Stat reports consumers have a "significant preference for WiMax." That's what the results of the questionnaire indicate, anyway. The study asked a series of questions regarding consumers' interest in various wireless broadband services, with each service description based on what is currently or will soon be available per technology.

While I don't doubt In-Stat's research techniques, comparing wireless technologies on paper based on specs doesn't do any of the technologies justice. So many variables affect the performance of wireless broadband networks that each could out-perform the others given a certain set of circumstances.

The study did bear some interesting results, though. More than 50% of respondents indicated they would change their current home broadband provider for one that bundles wireless with a home broadband service. Respondents' interest in cellular data decreased dramatically when presented with pricing (most plans are $60 per month). Lastly, the top two service attributes used in selecting a wireless broadband provider, when not factoring in price, were availability and reliability.

I'd like to see how In-Stat worded the questions on WiMax's availability and reliability. Sure, Clearwire has some WiMax networks up and running in the Western U.S. and Sprint will be launching several markets later this year, but right now 3G wins hands down on availability. It will be years before WiMax networks are as widespread.

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Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing