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October 10, 2006 at 7:14 AM

WiMax World: facts for starters

BOSTON — In the pre-conference day before WiMax World really kicks off in Boston, a number of interesting facts and figures about the emerging technology surfaced during a presentation by Berge Ayvazian, Yankee Group’s chief strategy officer and Philip Marshall, a Yankee analyst.

First off, Yankee talked about its first-ever forecast for the WiMax industry. With both Kirkland-based Clearwire and Sprint Nextel announced their intentions to build nationwide WiMax networks, Yankee is predicting there will be 7.3 million subscribers of WiMax by 2010. That does not include subscribers of 3G wireless broadband networks.

Yankee said 200 WiMax trials have been launched in 65 countries worldwide, with 35 commercial fixed service offerings already up and running.

And, during some of his final comments, Ayvazian offered this piece of gossip: DirecTV and EchoStar had been invited to participate in a panel discussion about the quadruple and triple play (Internet, voice, wireless and TV), but “Unfortunately they were not willing to accept our invitation,” Ayvazian said.

DirecTV and EchoStar are looking at using WiMax to provide voice and Internet connectivity that they cannot offer today with a satellite network. In fact, the two had been bidding on spectrum that was up for auction recently, but bowed out after prices went too high. Now, DirecTV and EchoStar are rumored to be working on developing a partnership with a WiMax provider, such as Clearwire, to provide these services.

“Rather than obtain licenses, they’ll joint venture with others,” Ayvazian said.

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