Thursday, September 27, 2007

Update on WiMAX

The WiMAX World 2007 Expo invited many participants to issue press releases. Here is a short overview of what is happening at the moment.

1. Equipment and technology
Several vendors have started interoperability testing. Also, competion for erstwhile first-movers Alvarion, Redline, Navini and Aperto is still on the rise, as Nortel, Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent and Motorola expand their offering. Alvarion is teaming with Hitachi for the Japanese market.

2. Auctions and licenses
Many auctions will be carried out in the short or medium term. Watch out for Japan, where two groups have formed, one around DoCoMo and one that includes SoftBand and eAccess.

3. Trials and deployments
There is no single trend here. Many emerging markets use the technology to leapfrog fixed network investments, AT&T is aiming for rural markets and Sprint is moving ahead on its 4G plan.

Of course, there is also the ongoing debate of WiMAX vs. LTE (not to mention Terahertz). It seems to me that LTE has a considerable advantage:
  • It is an evolutionary technology to entrenched networks.
  • It could be the tentative end point of both GSM and CDMA evolutions, as Verizon Wireless and Vodafone have attested.
  • And the performance is continually enhanced, whereas WiMAX doesn't seem to have that much upside (but I am not quite sure of the latter point - readers please fill me in on that).

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