2010 Prediction No. 1: WiMAX takes off in the U.S.

WiMAX will fly thanks to broadband stimulus plays and Clearwire. Also, the illusive WiMAX handset will come in late 2010.

Barring some regional operators such as Towerstream, mobile WiMAX so far has failed to take off in a big way in the U.S. Clearwire didn't make much of a dent in 2009 with its handful of major markets, but with new funding in hand, it will accelerate its rollout in 2010 to reach 120 million people. Moreover, Clearwire's wholesale partners--Sprint Nextel, Comcast and Time Warner Cable--are expected to make a bigger WiMAX push. Last-mile broadband stimulus projects should boost the proliferation of WiMAX too. According to the WiMAX Forum, 25 percent of all last-mile stimulus applications in the first round proposed to use WiMAX.

However, one major thing folks are harping about in terms of WiMAX's mainstream appeal is the lack of mobile devices. Clearwire CEO Bill Morrow recently hinted that a WiMAX handset wouldn't hit the market until late 2010, which likely will hurt the technology's momentum in the short term.

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