During a teleconference with reporters, one of WiMAX's biggest backers, Intel, provided a synopsis of progress on WiMAX deployments, acknowledging most of the progress is happening outside of the U.S. as Clearwire operates mobile WiMAX in just two U.S. markets. Intel took a fourth-quarter charge related to its $1.6 billion investment in Clearwire. Clearwire took a $950-million non-cash charge for the fourth quarter because Clearwire's stock value has gone below $5 a share.
Japan, India, Russia, South Korea, and countries in Europe and Africa are moving aggressively to deploy WiMAX, according to Sean Maloney, executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer for Intel. Maloney stressed that WiMAX and the deployment of broadband for accessing the Internet in general is a "global issue." He added Japan has plans to roll out WiMAX throughout the country by 2012 and he highlighted the technology's availability in Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia from high-speed Internet provider Scartel. In South Korea, WiMax is available under the WiBro brand.
Intel also acknowledged WiMAX must include the ability to move between LTE and 3G networks. Therefore, Intel hopes smartphones and mini notebooks over time will have handoff features that will be fairly standard. Intel is working on technology to incorporate in its mobile chips that would support automatic switching between networks.
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