Most of the WiMAX attention in the U.S. centers on Sprint’s XOHM and Clearwire, both of whom are using spectrum in the 2.5 Ghz range. Carriers not lucky enough to own or have access to that spectrum appear to be on the short end of the WiMAX stick. But don’t tell that to Grand Haven, MI based Azulstar. They just recently launched WiMAX services in Michigan and New Mexico, using the 3.65 Ghz spectrum range. Branded as MetraMAX, the Azulstar service offers consumer and business services, as well as a voice product. The consumer services pricing begins at $24.95 for 1.5 Mbps downstream and tops out at $34.95 for 6 Mbps downstream. Azulstar is using equipment from Alvarion.
This is an important development because the 3.65 Ghz band is more widely available to potential WiMAX service providers. It’s basically an unlicensed spectrum, but does require registration and filing fees with the FCC. For telecompetitors who lack spectrum, this option may be appealing to explore WiMAX options, particularly in rural and less densely populated areas where competition from licensed spectrum holders/users is less intense.