In April this year, I attended the Broadband Wireless World 2006 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. There were a variety of entities represented - CEO's, management, engineers, ISPs, vendors, etc. One of my goals was to figure out what they thought of where WiMax will be in the future and to this end, I talked to several people. At the end of the conference, my impression was that opinion is still quite divided. Some folks think Wimax will be here in the next two years, whereas some think it's still to early to say when. One of the complaints was that it's a chicken-and-egg situation with respect to providers and customers. Another line of thought was that the rest of the world will probably be quicker to adopt WiMax as compared to the U.S., given the crowded license spectrum and the difficulties of obtaining licenses here in the U.S.
The expo boasted a large number of vendors and their state-of-the-art equipment. I had a few interesting conversations, one of which was with a gentleman from Kyocera, Japan. Kyocera is testing out this new technology of theirs - iBurst. However, the testing is being done in a few other countries but not Japan. The reason is that it is very difficult to obtain spectrum licenses in Japan and hence, they find it easier to do their testing elsewhere. He also said WiMax doesn't have as much potential in Japan for a simple reason - most of the country (99%) is on wired broadband and so there isn't much of a need for WiMax.
This is a good conference for WiMax folks. The fact that the annual CTIA conference was held in Las Vegas a week or so before it, made it more attractive for a lot of people.