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Mobile WiMax Still Has ‘Inside Track,’ Research Firm Finds

Don’t bet against mobile WiMax.

Don’t bet against mobile WiMax.

That’s what Pike & Fischer suggests in a research report.

The emerging technology “stands to bring consumers an expanded array of mobile video, data and voice services.” Though it may be delayed in getting to market, mobile WiMax will not be a failure as some wireless industry observers think, the business publishing firm wrote.

“Despite some deployment hurdles, mobile WiMax will hit the market much sooner than competing fourth-generation or 4G solutions being embraced by Verizon Wireless and AT&T. And WiMax will offer higher speeds than the current crop of mobile data technologies can support.”

It noted that a decision by Sprint Nextel and Clearwire Communications to abandon a joint deployment fueled speculation that it be a technology bust in the United States.

“But Sprint will continue to invest heavily in building its own WiMax network, despite recent financial troubles,” P&F predicted. “And Clearwire, a startup based in Washington State, has already committed itself to building a WiMax network that will accommodate consumer devices made by the company’s investors, which include Intel and Motorola.”

But it said cellphone makers must bring a “critical number” of WiMax-enabled devices to market in 2008 to keep them affordable. The authors noted that at least one is expected to launch with a price tag of $1,500.

“And if customers encounter service problems — such as dropped calls — they may decide WiMax service isn’t worth the price.”