Operators want WiMAX fully mobile by 2012

Most WiMAX operators plan to offer their services for mobile users by 2012, providing enough smartphones are developed that can actually handle the technology says a report by Infonetics Research.

WiMAX is currently limited by a number of factors and is mainly employed for nomadic broadband services, but most operators want that to change in the near future. Two-thirds of the 25 operators asked want to offer WiMAX for mobile broadband within the next two years.

The survey also found that 90 percent of operators anticipate offering VoIP through WiMAX by the same period, hoping to make the proto-4G technology the next big thing; that is if LTE doesn’t win the day as some soothsayers sooth.

One of the big problems for the provision of WiMAX for mobile broadband is that there are so few handsets that support it. The HTC Evo 4G was the first smartphone with support for WiMAX, launching on the Sprint network in the US on June 4 of this year. Other manufacturers, such as Samsung, have promised WiMAX phones but delivering is taking a long time.

Demand is out there, however, as the HTC Evo 4G became one of the most popular Android phones on the market, trailing in third place behind the Motorola Droid and HTC Droid Incredible.

There are other obstacles for WiMAX, such as the difficulty in providing retail and distribution channels and low-cost services for developing countries, not to mention the race against time to beat arch-nemesis LTE, which some would say it appears to be losing, but all of this pales in comparison with the lack of supporting devices.

WiMAX operators may have mobile services in place for 2012, but it’s still not certain if handset manufacturers are as willing to jump on board to meet them at the deadline.