Intel: WiMAX PC Card by June

Intel Executive VP Sean Maloney, at CES here in Las Vegas, said the company will have a “middle-of-[this]-year-release” for its WiMAX PC Card, a device that could help accelerate end users’ embrace of the nascent wireless technology.

Despite some recent bumps in the road for WiMAX, top executives from major WiMAX backers Intel, Sprint Nextel and Cisco all said at CES this week that they are bullish on the wireless technology’s future, albeit more so in countries other than the U.S. Intel CEO Paul Otellini said in his Monday afternoon keynote here that “for the next five to 10 years, WiMAX will have a significant advantage” as a platform for wireless broadband, and Cisco CEO John Chambers said Monday night that the networking giant “remains bullish” on WiMAX, especially in developing-country deployments.

Chambers, who we spoke with at a Cisco party here Monday night, said WiMAX makes great sense as an architecture for developing countries that don’t have an existing copper plant the way the U.S. does. Sometimes, he noted, copper wires get pulled out of the ground by scrap-metal thieves.

Ali Tabassi, Sprint’s vice president for technology development, said after a Monday panel that his company is still moving “full speed ahead” with its planned WiMAX rollout, with Chicago, Washington D.C. and Baltimore on schedule for deployment this year. The rumor we hear is that Sprint employees in Chicago are already testing the WiMAX network there. (Anyone want to tell us how it’s working?)

Intel’s Maloney, who spoke with us after Otellini’s Monday afternoon keynote, didn’t have any new WiMAX financing agreements from the company to tell us about, but did say that deployments of the technology are continuing strongly, worldwide. And Sprint’s Tabassi said there is a lot of interest in WiMAX from Asian wireless providers who have 2G networks, and are considering jumping directly to WiMAX instead of deploying 3G technologies.

Paul Kapustka, former managing editor for GigaOM, now has his own blog at Sidecut Reports.