WiMax World entered its terrible two's with much fanfare yesterday as the second go-round of the conference bustled with a tenfold increase of attendees. At least it seemed that way while waiting in line for lunch. A noticeable lack of carriers at the show surprised some, especially given their sizable presence in the WiMax Forum. Some said it's too early in the game for carriers to show their hand, but the notable exception was AT&T. The company was all over the conference as they discussed their WiMax trials in New Jersey, Alaska and an expected fourth-quarter launch in Atlanta. At the very least, the company sees WiMax as a way to cut their $8 billion per year access costs that mostly go to buying and installing T-lines. AT&T said WiMax beats the wired alternative on cost, installation time and performance. The DOJ approved SBC's acquisition of AT&T, and the latter said the merger will bring some new perspectives to the WiMax front.
Where's the hype? Reports circling the Internet that misleadingly combine figures of the highest throughput (70 Mbps) on the farthest edge of WiMax's reach (31 miles) are patently false. WiMax World attendees thought 7 Mbps each way to be a better average speed--better than EV-DO's 150 Kbps.
The WiMax Forum also announced their Beijing Plugfest in November, and we're looking forward to the results of the 14 products they'll be trialing. - Brian