Intel Maxes on WiMax

Surprise! Unstrung readers tip US chip monster to dominate nascent WiMax metro market

May 5, 2004

2 Min Read
Intel Maxes on WiMax

Chipmaker Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) is set to dominate the much hyped, but as yet unborn, WiMax wireless metropolitan area network (MAN) market, according to the results of Unstrung’s April poll: WiMax: Metro-Sexy?.

The company has already made a song and dance over plans to launch its first WiMax silicon in the second half of this year, and over half (55 percent) of the 370 respondents expect the chipset maker to reap the greatest rewards from the WiMax market (see WiMax Gets Serious, Intel's Got WiMax Headroom and Intel's WiMax Drive).

Niche equipment vendors with expertise in this area -- Alvarion Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALVR) (which is working with Intel) and Wi-LAN Inc. (Toronto: WIN), for example -- are deemed less likely to capture the WiMax spoils (23 percent), while bigger players like Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) (which is also working with Intel) are considered rank outsiders (12 percent). (See Nokia Chills on WiMax and Siemens Plans WiMax Move.)

Intel’s seemingly bottomless marketing budget is also touted as the number one key driver of the market (37 percent), compared to factors such as broadband accessibility and service performance (28 percent and 11 percent, respectively).

For those wireless folk just emerged from a deep cave, WiMax is a new specification for delivering high-speed wireless data services over a distance of 30 miles or thereabouts (see Working for the MAN).

Also known by its less catchy Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) monikers -- 802.16a revision d (fixed wireless) or 802.16a revision e (mobile) -- Wimax is being hyped as a technology to replace everything from 3G cellular networks to DSL and wireless LAN. [Ed. note: Rumor has it that it also cooks up a mean rib steak if you ask nicely.]

It is WiMax’s status as a wireless replacement for DSL and cable that has the majority of readers giddy with excitement over its potential use (51 percent); less than a third (28 percent) predict it to become a “bigger, better rival to WiFi hotspots.”

Should WiMax fail to live up to the hype, a sizeable percentage of readers expect rival 802.20 technology to take over the wireless broadband mantle. Thirty-five percent of respondents claim that the IEEE specification could make the dream of widespread wireless broadband a reality (see Enter the MAN Haters and IEEE 802.20 Established).

Commercially deployed 3G cellular technologies such as UMTS (Universal Mobile Telephony System) and CDMA EV-DO fare less well as wireless broadband saviors (14 percent and 16 percent, respectively).

Then again, 14 percent of you think that hamsters will spin the, er, wheels of high-speed wireless. Hey it could happen...

Moving swiftly on, our latest poll takes a jovial look at the role of CEOs in the wireless industry. Dance around the May Poll here: CEO: Chief Expendable Officer?

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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