VCs support for WiMAX lukewarm so far

From Zdnet

Posted by Russell Shaw @ 7:51 am


The first WiMAX-certified products are expected to be announced today at the Wireless Communications Association convention in San Jose. Image from How Stuff Works.

These products, though, will only be for the "fixed standard" flavor of WiMAX that will be used for stationary wireless connections that will be competitive with DSL.

The real excitement will occur next year, when mobile WiMAX is expected to debut. Mobile WiMAX’s potential is to foster improvements for mobile connections sought by laptops and cell phones.

True, there is some excitement, but is the VC community buying in? Well, not exactly at a fever pitch.

VC Rajeev Vhand of investment bank Rutberg & Company tells VC-oriented publication Red Herring today that in 2005, WiMAX carriers raised $177 million,WiMAX hardware sellers $102 million and WiMAX chipmakers $48 million.

And while those numbers sound impressive, they really are not.

"WiMAX provider Clearwire alone raised $150 million from Intel for its subsidiary NextNet, significantly skewing the total WiMAX data," Red Herring notes.


Based on those numbers, 2005 VC investment in Wi-Fi was 1.5 times the investment in WiMAX. Investment in cellular was 1.25 times greater.



And as to the flavor of WiMAX that makes its heralded debut today?

"The mobile WiMAX market is speculative and uncertain," Chand tells Red Herring.


“The mobile WiMAX market is speculative and uncertain,” said Mr. Chand.

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