The days of sneering at WiMAX as unproven vaporware may well be over. Over 200 operators are either planning WiMAX rollouts or have already deployed trial or commercial systems, according to TeleGeography's WiMAX Market Tracking database.
Granted, less than 20 of those are in commercial operation (as of June 2006), including WiMAX Telecom in Europe, Yozan in Japan and Enforta in Russia, and those are fixed WiMAX, not the mobile WiMAX dubbed by some supporters like Motorola as 'real WiMAX'. Even so, many operators are planning similar fixed systems or biding their time while the first mobile WiMAX equipment begins to make its way through the certification process. Sprint in the US is the highest-profile example of mobile WiMAX commitment with its recent announcement of plans to build a multi-billion dollar WiMAX network.
TeleGeography counts 117 WiMAX networks in the deployment, trial or commercial stage, with Asia-Pacific having the most trials underway. Still, how much further WiMAX goes in the near to medium term will depend on how much spectrum regulators are willing to clear, says TeleGeography, and whether the frequencies support the development of global roaming.