Big Week for WiMax at CTIA SF

Demo vs. TechCrunch? Who cares! The biggest real news this week is likely to come from the CTIA’s Wireless I.T. & Entertainment show in San Francisco, where WiMax services in the U.S. are likely to get a big boost if the keynote speakers come through with some real meat.

And by real meat we mean hard announcement dates for the launches of WiMax services from Sprint and Clearwire, beginning with the former’s debut Xohm network in Baltimore and the latter’s tested-so-much-launch-it-already network in Portland, Ore. With both Sprint CEO Dan Hesse and Clearwire chairman Craig McCaw on the CTIA keynote slate, we expect nothing but chewy delivery deadlines and perhaps a side dish of pricing plans.

Maybe.

See, lots of us remember the Vegas CTIA show earlier this year, where Sprint was all lined up to tout Xohm but instead let the moment pass with just some weak praise for WiMax. Granted, Sprint and Clearwire did do the big WiMax deal a month later so there were reasons to keep quiet. But if Clearwire and Sprint hope to get WiMax going before AT&T and Verizon can get LTE services off the ground, they can’t miss too many more deadlines.

From what we’re hearing, though, progress is being made on WiMax deployments and since Clearwire is already signing up press folks for live WiMax demos this week, it’s a good bet that we’ll hear more from the big names at CTIA this week — a better bet than taking Peyton Manning over the “new” Chicago Bears, anyway. Game on, WiMax!

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