The WiMAX hype will continue

The hype will continue to build around WiMAX in 2007, but its real impact won't be felt until 2008 when Sprint Nextel plans to commercially launch the technology. But what Sprint does in 2007 will have much bearing on where the standard is headed. Sprint has a lot of hard work cut out to mature mobile WiMAX technology, which is why the carrier will be working closely with Motorola, Intel and Samsung throughout the year. Meanwhile, 2007 will see some significant deployments of WiMAX throughout the world. While those deployments will be the 802.16e kind, they won't be truly mobile networks. Watch for many realities to hit WiMAX. Mainly, hardware vendors won't be able to move the economies of scale down as fast as they say they can and the technology won't be as cheap as many advocates have touted. You just can't force the maturity cycle to move and an artificially fast rate. Have you ever known any new wireless technology to meet expectations?

Meanwhile, you can count on Qualcomm to rock the WiMAX boat in 2007. While the vendor's standard line is a "no comment" any time one asks it about its plans for WiMAX, you can bet Qualcomm will have some sort of dramatic impact on the WiMAX market. Will it try to hold the WiMAX market hostage on the IPR front or make some sort of strategic acquisition to upset the apple cart?