03 December, 2007

WiMAX: two steps forward, one step back, but the dance continues

Excellent summary of the state of the WiMAX implementations from Analysys.

Sprint Nextel revealed on Friday that it would not be following through with the previously announced plans to build a mobile WiMAX network with Clearwire; at least not within the timescales previously mentioned.
Both WiMAX and LTE (Long Term Evolution) are aiming to meet the ITU’s 4G requirement of 100Mbit/s data rates in a mobile environment.

Here's another summary of WiMAX's prospects (also from Analysys) from March '07. It poo-poos the opportunity in developing world, citing high Cap-Ex and the greater value placed on voice (rather than data) services.
In developed markets, head-to-head competition with DSL could be disastrous for WiMAX.
Here are Analysys' success criteria:
  • a WiMAX operator with a large existing customer base, strong brand and substantial marketing budget, to expedite the growth in customer numbers
  • strong demand for mobility, to enable a significant price premium over fixed broadband services
  • free spectrum available
  • low frequency of operation (2.5GHz), to minimise the number of WiMAX base stations required
  • strong leverage over terminal vendors, to drive substantial price declines
  • existing base station and transmission infrastructure, to minimise capital investment.

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