US to open WiMax spectrum

A Bush administration official said the U.S. is making a move to open up spectrum for WiMax technology in several bands, including the highly coveted 700 MHz band. Michael Gallagher, administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), said the Bush administration wants to stay ahead of other countries to provide universal broadband access. This year and next year, the U.S. plans to auction off separate 1710 MHz and 2110 MHz bands for WiMax applications.

The WiMax Form has been aggressively lobbying the U.S. government to release spectrum for WiMax. Countries around the world have dedicated the 3.5 GHz band to broadband wireless deployments, paving the way for strong growth of WiMax-based services globally. In the U.S., the potential of WiMax was less clear because the 3.5 GHz band is encumbered. WiMax backers have been pinning their hopes on Sprint Nextel's 2.5 GHz spectrum.

Still, the government's move is certainly not a shoo-in for WiMax. The government's practice of technology neutrality when it comes to spectrum auctions means a host of competitive broadband solutions will be vying for business, including TD-CDMA, which already has gained traction worldwide and is probably the choice of Sprint Nextel, which yesterday made a $10 million investment in TD-CDMA inventor IPWireless. Movement in the 802.20 standards process, which aims to have a mobile broadband wireless standard, suggests the standard could be completed to coincide with the mobile WiMax standard.

For more about spectrum moves for WiMax:
- check out this article in EETimes