updated 04:50 pm EDT, Tue June 17, 2008
WiMAX launches in Europe
Private Dutch firm WorldMAX on Tuesday announced the launch of Europe's first WiMAX network in Amsterdam. The network, which relies on the 3.5GHz band in Europe, allows users in Amsterdam's city center to use their high-speed wireless data devices while on the move, not having to stay still to enjoy the benefits of the network.
Compared to plans from KPN, Vodafone and T-Mobile, who offer cellular phone data plans, the WorldMAX offering is nearly as fast as wired broadband connections, cheaper and does not have an associated long-term contract.
WorldMAX plans to eventually expand the coverage of its network nationwide, although that project would be akin to building a cellular phone network from scratch, requiring 3,000 towers, according to company chief executive Jeanine van der Vlist. The cost to do so would be equivalent to hundreds of millions of dollars.
Monthly pricing for a WorldMAX' WiMAX connection is the equivalent of $31 per month for a wireless broadband connection for laptop computers with no imposed data limits. In the US, Sprint is due to launch a WiMAX network later this year, while Clearwire already offers WiMAX in select cities, albeit for desktop and laptop PCs only and not handheld devices.