Intel sends its soldiers into the field: These advisers are advisers in the same sense that military advisers offer advice. They may not go into battle themselves, but they provide critical strategic advice to win the war. Intel plans to make another fortune from fixed and especially mobile WiMax, and they need to wrest the future of broadband wireless from the hands of cellular carriers into their own.
When I interviewed a senior Intel executive about Centrino back at its introduction in April 2003, he spoke about a near-term--certainly less than two year--development in which Centrino's Wi-Fi component would develop into a hybrid cellular data and Wi-Fi contraption that would allow seamless, ubiquitous roaming.
We now have domestic 3G networks that are approach big-city ubiquity--by the end of this year, or in early 2006, most cities will have one to three choices for high-speed mobile cellular data. Where's the cell card in Intel laptops? Obviously the cellular companies decided they wanted to own their own future, so Intel is taking it from them. If they can't put cell modems into laptops, they'll insert mobile WiMax, and, in the same sweep, produce revenue from base stations and customer equipment.
Mobile WiMax moves customers and dollars from expensive cellular networks to less expensive but more diverse and widespread--and possibly overlapping and competitive--networks operated by large and small firms alike. The diversity and extend of the deployment to come puts Intel into the supplier catbird seat. They are trying to become the dominant force in mobile WiMax.