There have been a lot of radical changes in consumer tech in the last five years – the birth of YouTube, the explosion of Facebook, the launch of Twitter. But I’ve had a close-up view on one new technology in particular. When I started paying attention to WiMAX two and a half years ago, it still felt a little like vapor tech; lots of talk, very little in the way of implementations. As sexy as the Motorola boat ride in Chicago was, it was a demo only. But since then, WiMAX has hit the big time.
According to the WiMAX Forum, WiMAX service providers were covering more than 621 million by the end of 2009, with that number expected to skyrocket to one billion people by 2011. Meanwhile, Motorola announced today that it has shipped more than two million WiMAX devices. That doubles the one-million milestone the company hit just five months ago. In the US we’re familiar with WiMAX shipments through Clearwire, but Motorola actually has 40 WiMAX contracts with operators worldwide, up from 23 a little over a year ago.
I get the feeling most folks are unaware of how far and wide WiMAX has spread, and also how big a role Motorola has played in global deployments. The numbers say a lot.