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Vodafone hedges bets with WiMAX Forum membership

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Vodafone has signed up to principal membership of the WiMAX Forum, the organisation dedicated to the promotion of WiMAX interoperability and adoption, though it's not giving up on 3G any time soon.

WiMAX is a long-range wireless standard designed to operate in licensed frequencies - initially for fixed connections, but evolving towards mobility and eventually competing with 3G and other telephony standards.

The standard is often compared to Wi-Fi, though the comparison is unfair as WiMAX isn't based on a 20-year-old wired standard but was designed for wireless use (at least, the bits not borrowed from DOCSIS were). WiMAX offers greater speed and range than Wi-Fi, but most importantly it offers quality of service guarantees that make VoIP and streaming applications easier to manage.

"Our membership of the WiMAX Forum will complement our existing memberships of other key industry bodies such as the GSMA, 3GPP, and the Next Generation Mobile Network initiative," Vodafone global chief technology officer Steve Pusey said.

WiMAX has been heavily pushed by Intel, which intends to build it into laptop chipsets, encouraging rapid adoption of a technology in which it owns key intellectual property. ®

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