The WiMax Forum has postponed the start of plugfest, the time when interoperability tests were to be done in the initial steps toward the equipment certification process: Plugfest was supposed to start this month but now has been tentatively set for as late as June or July. The setback would appear to add half a year to the certification process.
While few expected the schedule to go exactly as planned, six months is quite a long delay. In the meantime, vendors will continue to market their "pre-WiMax" equipment because they're now put in an awkward position. They can't exactly hold off on selling gear while they wait for the process to move forward. Also, with all the hype around WiMax, they'll feel compelled to use the term in their marketing efforts or risk losing potential sales.
The delay itself also risks being overhyped. WiMax is getting a bit of criticism of late, as 3G networks launch, Wi-Fi coverage expands and questions surrounding the demand for a fixed WiMax service surface. Realistically, practically every standards process has taken longer than expected.
It's a bit ironic that Intel is being blamed in part for the delay because it has yet to release its silicon which will be used in the customer premise equipment. It doesn't look great for WiMax's biggest cheerleader to be partly responsible for the delay.