Companies have been lining up to support Intel's new WiMax chip.

The Intel Pro/Wireless 5116 chip, aka Rosedale, provides wireless broadband and is now available in volume, priced at $45.

A long list of vendors are developing gear based on the chip, including Alvarion, Aperto, Huawei, Proxim, Redline, Siemens and ZTE. Carriers planning trials include AT&T, BT, Brasil Telecom, Qwest and Teléfonos de México.

The backing given to Intel's WiMax chip is expected to drive down its current high price and help the technology to take off. The WiMax Forum has also announced it has launched a certification program to approve products. Its test lab in Spain will start accepting products in July, the group said. Products should ship in November or December.

Carrier trials are likely to occur before that time. Aperto, a US WiMax vendor, plans to hold trials of Intel-based devices in August and September with several carriers, including Interbanda in Spain and Intertel in the Netherlands. Aperto sees its biggest initial markets as Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Qwest, which serves consumers across the US has tested WiMax in several locations over the past year. The company sees WiMax as a tool for delivering broadband to customers in the many rural areas in its territory that it hasn't yet reached with high-speed data.

AT&T plans to hold trials of WiMax service to US companies, with the first starting within a month. A third trial will use a wireless mesh network covering a major city, the company said. AT&T sees WiMax as a possible way around paying incumbent local carriers for last-mile access to its customers, an expense that currently costs AT&T $10 billion per year.

Alvarion, which has been shipping a "WiMax-ready" subscriber device based on its own chip, said it demonstrated equipment based on the Intel chip last week at the WiMax Forum meeting in Spain. Its Intel-based gear should be certified and on the market some time in the second half of this year, company officials said.