BT, France Telecom, Qwest, Reliance, and XO have joined the WiMax Forum: Previously, AT&T and Covad were the only major operators in the forum. Having these heavy-hitters join is certainly a significant show of support, although none has yet pledged to use the technology.
It will be interesting to see how these operators might use WiMax. Operators could use WiMax for backhaul on existing networks. European cellular operators already use wireless more frequently than wired options to backhaul their networks, much more so than U.S. cellular operators, said Monica Paolini, the founder of Senza Fili Consulting. However, the press release about these operators joining the forum focuses on using WiMax to offer broadband Internet to end users. That emphasis could be just wishful thinking on the part of the forum or some of the operators may have expressed sincere interest in using WiMax to serve end users.