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WiMAX is the Real Deal, New Survey Finds

Telecom network operators are convinced that WiMax will have a positive impact on their ability to deliver new services, and most expect to see deployment of WiMax in commercial networks by the end of 2007, according to results of a worldwide survey of service provider professionals conducted by Heavy Reading.

The "Service Provider WiMax Deployment Plans" report presents full results and analysis of an invitation-only survey gauging not only service provider perceptions of WiMax, but also their plans to incorporate the new broadband wireless technology into their own networks. A total of 262 service provider professionals, representing more than 175 different network operators worldwide, participated in the survey.

Key findings include the following:

Service provider respondents overwhelmingly view WiMax as a technology that will have at least some impact on the future of telecom networks, and a solid majority expect it to have a major impact. Less than 2 percent of the 262 respondents categorized WiMax as offering "more hype than hope," while nearly 60 percent said WiMax would have a major long-term impact on telecom networks and services. These results clearly indicate that WiMax developers have succeeded in making a strong case for their technology, and that service providers are expecting WiMax to have a place in future network designs.

Positive attitudes toward WiMax and its role in telecom networks cut across all service provider types. For every type of service provider included in the survey, more than 50 percent of respondents said WiMax would have a major long-term effect on networks and services. The respondents most bullish about WiMax's prospects include those from long-distance operators (69.1 percent of whom said WiMax would have a major long-term impact), Bell companies (68.8 percent), and operators of conventional wireless networks (68.4 percent).

The evaluation process for WiMax is already well underway, and the next 12 to 18 months will be critical in determining how many carriers make investments in WiMax and how extensive those investments will be. A majority of respondents say their company is now evaluating WiMax technology, and almost all of the rest say their company is likely to take a close look at WiMax once the technology matures � which most expect to occur in the next 12 to 18 months.

The vast majority of respondents expect to see commercial WiMax service launched within the next two years. Nearly 40 percent of respondents expect commercial WiMax service to be available this year, and more than 80 percent anticipate it by the end of 2007.

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