Europe lags behind on WiMax

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Europe is likely to be one of the last regions to get WiMax, or wireless broadband, with services not expected until 2008.

Asia will be the first region to get WiMax services, and Korea Telecom has already signed up to provide a mobile WiMax (802.16e) service by the end of the year.

In the longer term the US is likely to be the next earliest adopter, followed by Europe.

But Scott Richardson, general manager of Intel’s broadband wireless division, told vnunet.com that the timeframe is fluid.

“Our view is to see that by the end of 2008 there will be city coverage in most of the major markets in all three regions [US, Europe and Asia],” he said. “But that’s not fixed. There’s a lot of activity in Europe at the moment on the 3.5GHz spectrum.”

There are currently over 100 WiMax trials going on around the world, of which a third are being run by commercial concerns like Korea Telecom. In the latter case the company had been purely a fixed line telecoms provider but is using WiMax to move into new areas.

The bulk of trials have been in areas with low broadband penetration, such as developing nations and rural areas.

Richardson explained that Intel is fixing its development of WiMax radio components around 2.3GHz, 2.5GHz and 3.5GHz frequencies. The company expects to have a WiMax PC card for laptops by the end of the year.

In the longer term Intel wants to have Wi-Fi and WiMax on the same chip so that users can switch between services.

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