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March 28, 2007

CTIA: The WiMax effect

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 6:40 AM

ORLANDO, Fla. -- There are a million things going on at once at CTIA.

The LG booth, for instance, appears to be as many as three stories high and has the effect of waterfalls cascading down the side. Loud techno music pumps from the booth, making it what I believe might make the largest and most eye-catching of all on the floor. Perhaps Samsung's or Ericsson's come in second and third -- for sure on size alone.

But those aren't the things really stealing the show.

WiMax is.

In the three years I have been covering CTIAs, this is the first time WiMax has had a significant presence.

Motorola is hosting a panel discussion on the topic today; there ares standalone WiMax booths on the floor for network equipment; Sprint Nextel disclosed Monday where it will launch the next dozen or so markets for its WiMax service; and I even ran into Clearwire's CEO Ben Wolff, who was cruising the floor.

The consensus is that the WiMax-at-wireless-shows trend started in Feburary at the 3GSM show in Barcelona, Spain. Folks at Motorola said it was there that Vodafone was quoted in one of the major papers as saying carriers should be very afraid of WiMax -- or something along on those lines.

From then on, WiMax supposedly was the topic of conversation.

The increased presence may be a sign of the technology's maturity.

WiMax World, the annual trade show dedicated to wireless broadband, is typically held in Boston every year in the fall. This year, the show has moved to Chicago (Motorola's back yard) because of the increased number of attendants.

Perhaps, the 3G carriers will show up there?

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Tricia Duryee
Tricia Duryee
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