Those who have joined the wireless group include AT&T, Covad Communications Group, Hong Kong-based PCCW and equipment suppliers such as Siemens and ZTE of China. All told, membership now stands at 67 companies, compared to 28 just five months ago, the group said Wednesday.
WiMax, short for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is a nonprofit body set up to certify interoperability of broadband wireless access products based on IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) 802.16 and other wireless specifications. The group's aim is to foster the construction of that can compete with cable and DSL (digital subscriber line) technology.
WiMax networks have a range of up to about 30 miles, with data transfer speeds of up to 70 megabits per second.
Infrastructure equipment based on the WiMax standard began shipping last year, and the technology is seen as a key growth area in the wireless-networking sector. According to ABI Research, sales of are expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2008, with much of the growth coming from spending on WiMax gear.
"With the IEEE 802.16a standard, carriers are able to offer enterprise and residential customers more options for broadband connectivity at a lower cost," Christoph Caselitz, president of networks at the Siemens' mobile group, said in a statement. "For many people worldwide who cannot get access to broadband connectivity via cable or DSL, the new wireless technology will be their way to the Internet."