Coverage of WiMAX for the last several months has been filled with all sorts of reasons for why it won't succeed. One only has to look at coverage of Clearwire's recent IPO for proof. Most tech writers have pegged every dollar decline in the company's value to another reason WiMAX won't succeed. I even have my own list of stock reasons to give technology writers that call me. These reasons include:
- Lack of Spectrum
- Regulatory Uncertainty
- Business Model Uncertainty
- Certification Delays
- Lack of Device Availability
- Competition from Existing Wireless and Wireline Service Providers
However all is not doom and gloom. When one gets beyond the possible reasons for failure, and looks just at interest in what WiMAX can do there are reasons to be optimistic. During February of this year In-Stat conducted a Technology Adoption Panel (TAP) survey with over 1.2k end-users. The purpose of the survey was to see what attributes respondents look for when selecting a wireless broadband data provider, their interest in bundling wireless broadband with their existing home broadband service and their preferences for different wireless broadband services.
Some of the key findings include:
- Top two attributes when selecting a wireless broadband provider were availability and reliability.
- Over 50% of respondents would change their current home broadband provider for one that bundles wireless with a home broadband service.
- In a head-to-head comparison respondents indicated a significant preference for WiMAX over cellular data and Wi-Fi services.
- Respondents' interest in cellular data dramatically decreased when presented with pricing.
- WiMAX had the highest level of interest, even when pricing was included in the description.
When it came to measuring end-user preference for WiMAX versus cellular data and Wi-Fi, each respondent was given three service examples. Each service example was based on a specific technology, but the technology was never named in the description. Instead each description of the service was based on its attributes. The service descriptions also were not based on any one service provider's specific offering, but were a general description of what is currently available on the market.
WiMAX description comes from information Sprint has shared publicly about its WiMAX service plans. To keep the service comparisons on an "apples to apples" basis, no discussion of the device used in the service was given. While not explicitly stated in the description, each description was for laptop access services.
The full details of this survey can be found in the soon to be published report "End-Users Prefer WiMAX!" Report, which will be available online at: http://email.in-stat.com/cgi-bin4/DM/y/h5oe0HWMdu0K560EzwB0El