The WiMAX Forum announced the formation of roaming guidelines for WiMAX operators. The industry trade group hopes to lay the groundwork for roaming agreements between WiMAX carriers. They’ve established a new website – www.wimaxroaming.org – to promote the new initiative. The WiMAX forum states there are approximately 400 WiMAX operators worldwide, so the timing is right to initiate a roaming framework. “We are already beginning to see how WiMAX technology will drastically improve the next-generation of broadband applications and services, and this roaming readiness program is another example of how the WiMAX ecosystem is working to extend the availability of services to subscribers,” said John Dubois, Global Roaming Director of WiMAX Forum.
An effective roaming program will help WiMAX operators compete more effectively with both wireline and wireless broadband carriers. When and if mobile WiMAX (802.16e) becomes a viable option for mainstream consumers, it could offer a realistic alternative to established broadband options, including 3G and DSL. While encouraging for WiMAX proponents, developments like this only highlight the uphill battle for WiMAX. The WiMAX ecosystem has to start from scratch in some regards – roaming is a great example. We’re watching this ecosystem exit its incubation stage and enter its execution phase. No small feat – especially when its traditional wireless competitors have an extensive global ecosystem in place to leverage for their own competitive advantage. An advantage that will suit them well when WiMAX competing 4G technologies, including LTE, enter the arena. Good luck WiMAX – we’re pulling for you.