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WiMax: The Cost Is Clear

Hello there,

Lots of big news – and big ideas – around WiMax this week, and one thing is becoming very obvious: Operators need lots of cash at hand to install big WiMax networks at a fast pace.

Case in point, Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR), which spent over $77 million building out WiMax in the U.S. and Europe last quarter. (See Clearwire: The Big Spend.)

That doesn't seem to be discouraging other operators, large and small, from making their own plans for WiMax, however. Both BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and Inquam Ltd. are now plotting Euro rollouts. (See Inquam lands Another Euro WiMax License and BT Wants WiMax.)

Unstrung also wonders if traditional operators are the only big companies getting into WiMax. Search giant Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) already has a trial underway in Mountain View, Calif. Could it take things further? (See GooMax.)

Here's the best of the rest:

The two faces of free WiFi
On the one hand, it may be the catalyst that finally opens up choice in the broadband market beyond cable and DSL. Does it profit a company like EarthLink Inc. (Nasdaq: ELNK), however, to be the pioneer in this space?

Clearwire's floor flaw
Or, online shopping made difficult.

Mobile WiMax flameout
There will definitely be a shakeout in the mobile WiMax market soon, as vendors nail down contracts and we get to see how well early networks actually work. Some are already downbeat about the technology's chances, even going so far as to describe the market as something like the next Iridium-style tech turkey. Canucks could do better
WiFi at Toronto Pearson International Airport still costs too much, apparently.

Laters,

— The Staff, Unstrung

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