Portland is Key to WiMAX Future

Comcast announced today that it has begun offering wireless Internet service in Portland, Oregon using Clearwire’s WiMAX network. “As goes Portland, so goes the nationwide WiMAX market”, according to Steve Clement who follows Clearwire for Pacific Crest Securities in Portland. Clearwire is under enormous financial pressure as it works to build a nationwide, high-speed network from scratch. Comcast’s investment is crucial to helping fund the continued roll-out as Clearwire admits it does not have money to take WiMAX nationwide at this point despite billions invested from Comcast, Google, Intel and others.

One of the others is SprintNextel Corp; Sprint plans to also introduce its own brand of WiMAX service in Portland using the Clearwire network though the company has not announced a launch date or pricing.

The backing of Comcast and Sprint could provide much needed credibility, customer base and marketing support for the relatively new technology which is facing pressure from other high-speed technologies including HSDPA which is used Apple’s latest iphone, the 3G – S. Read this write up on how exisiting high-speed technologies compare.

Soon to arrive on the market will be the fourth generation of wireless known as LTE (Long Term Evolution) which will increase the pressure on WiMAX to differentiate itself. LTE is predicted to be the standard chosen by 80% of worldwide carriers and will reach mass adoption by the year 2012. You can get a technical comparison of WiMAX and LTE at this link.

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