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China Hosts WiMAX Summit

If further evidence of China's headlong engagement with the world's major communications markets were needed, last week's Global WiMAX Summit and the WiMAX Forum Plenary Meeting, held concurrently in Beijing, should be a sign.

Companies demonstrated interoperable WiMAX solutions, and by the end of 2005, said Ron Resnick, president of the WiMAX Forum, the first group of WiMAX Forum Certified fixed network products for basic outdoor interoperability will become available. The event's combined attendance of about 2500 was a further sign of WiMAX's continuing market momentum around the world, and of China's immense potential for both supply and demand.

But according to Alan Varghese, ABI Research's principal analyst, a nagging question remains: do we really need both cellular communications and WiMAX? They meet many of the same needs. What makes the WiMAX case? "Is it about spectral efficiency?", he asks, "or about end-to-end IP, data rates, cellular network congestion, or operator spectrum strategy?"

When thinking about WiMAX vs. cellular, says Varghese, "The danger is in thinking only in terms of technology and technical advantages. But in the real world, forces such as industry leverage, company influence and competitive strategy play just as strong a role when one technology is not vastly superior to another. So WiMAX will continue to unfold around the world, and those who acknowledge this fact can make it a complementary technology; others will find competition in their backyard."

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