Unstrung, an online newsletter about the mobile industry, posted a discussion today on predictions for next year.
Surprisingly, I found quite a few local ties worth mentioning.
The first of 10 predictions was about Connexion, the inflight Wi-Fi service launched by Boeing in 2000. After the service was abandoned and shut down in August, there was a possibility of a new group, led by Lufthansa and Panasonic, were going to breathe new life into it. Unstrung says now that the group looks like it is delaying plans. Nevertheless, it said Wi-Fi should get off the ground, as Denver-based Aircell moves forward with plans after outbiding Verizon Wireless and other major carrier in a FCC spectrum auction last summer. (This doesn’t sound like much of a prediction, since Unstrung says that AirCell will announce agreements to install services on commercial planes by the end of the first quarter of 2007).
Here are the other three so-called “predictions” that include local companies (and they aren’t too far out there):
— Kirkland-based Clearwire, Craig McCaw’s new venture, will try to go public in the first two or three quarters of 2007 (Clearwire filed for an IPO a week before Christmas).
— Unstrung said the second half of next year will see the beginnings of a power struggle over which carrier will be the first to offer mobile WiMax services in the U.S. (Duh. Both Sprint Nextel and Clearwire have said they will start to launch their first mobile WiMax markets in 2007).
— Unstrung predicts that 2007 will be the year that the majority of U.S. carriers finally get hip to Wi-Fi and fixed mobile convergence. (That means that they will allow people to roam from the cellular network to a Wi-Fi network to get coverage in places that traditional networks don’t reach. T-Mobile launched fixed mobile convergence in Seattle as a trial in October.