I just heard that the mobile WiMAX standard (IEEE 802.16e) was approved as the sixth international standard for the IMT-2000 third-generation (3G) telecommunication platform, by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) today. The decision may accelerate the transition from the 2.XG to the 3.XG, but it depends on the operators. Also, the competitor for the mobile WiMAX will be, in my point of view, the legacy WiFi or the IEEE 802.11n standard.

When I came to Austin permanently in July and took a metro bus, I was so surprised about the wireless internet accessibility in a moving bus. At first I thought it was the mobile WiMAX, but it was not. Still I am not sure it is the EDGE (2.5G) or the WiFi (APs along the path), but it is fast enough (for a grad-student) to check my email, and moreover, it is FREE. For me, there’s no demand to use the mobile WiMAX, especially if I pay for it. I can use free WiFi on the campus, in a bus and even in my home (thanks to my reckless neighbor).

I am curious how the operator (such as Sprint, who is implementing the Mobile WiMAX around DC area) take advantage of the official approval today. They may combine it with legacy system to reduce the deployment cost, but the money for the FCC to license the band (5 - 20MHz) will be huge. if they convince some potential users (including me) to pay some money for the service, the money doesn’t matter. But if they don’t, I think they may not win in the 3G game - a step stone to the promising 4G, regardless of the new technological features in itself.

What is your opinion?