Thursday, August 23, 2007

What now for US WiMAX spectrum?

Much has changed in the last twelve months. Firstly, the FCC opened 50 MHz in the 3.65 GHz band for "non-exclusive access" while not exactly "free" or protected spectrum, it is a significant improvement over the prospects of 5.8 GHz use (popular as unlicensed backhaul or in Wi-Fi-related operations). There are many ways an operator might weave this spectrum into their business plans (rural, first mover, low cost per sub, best effort residential, roaming, etc). One ultimate conclusion to take away from these developments: don't speculate on spectrum! The 2.5 GHz WiMAX hegemony predicted for Sprint Nextel and Clearwire may not happen given potential competition from competitors on other bands which may allow any variety of competitive advantages (better propagation on 700 MHz, "free" spectrum on 3.65 GHz, for example) to those operators (the stuff for a detailed competitive analysis for vendor and service provider, alike).

Google is the real WiMAX news

While Google is not expected to build and operate a WiMAX network themselves, the 600-pound gorilla would profit from their portal-like services (including VoIP) being the first thing the user saw when activating their 700 MHz WiMAX subscriber device. Any operator partnering with Google would have to build to please Google. Just as cellular service is based on the application (circuit switched voice done on a PSTN switch) and not the physical layer access (wireless), Google services just might be the most powerful driver for 700 MHz WiMAX services based on an open architecture, internet-centric business model (horizontally organized as opposed to a 19th century vertical organization a la cell phone structure).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

IMT Advanced

Recent research :

* Two widely expected requirements for beyond 3G technologies are that they be OFDMA-based, and that they support 100 Mbps for wide area mobile applications.
* With the dominant worldwide technology currently being GSM/EDGE, and HSPA and EV-DO handsets not expected to be important until 2012, beyond 3G technology roll-outs will most likely start in the 2010-2012 timeframe.
* It is widely believed that mobile operators will initially deploy beyond 3G cautiously, relying on their EV-DO or HSPA networks to provide ubiquitous coverage.
* Drivers of LTE, UMB and 802.16m WiMAX adoption will include the following: the re-allocation of older spectrum for IMT Advanced technologies; the resolution of any WiMAX IPR issues; the creation of FDD profiles for 802.16e WiMAX; the uptake rate of 802.16e in Mobile PCs; the uptake rate of 3G cellular in Mobile PCs; the continued evolution of the mobile handset; and an increase in the uptake rate of wireless broadband technologies into portable CE devices.

Monday, August 20, 2007

WiMAX networks will fly with 700Mhz spectrum: EW reader

However, come 2009/2010, if the partnership between Google and Sprint pans out and they win a nationwide slice of the 700Mhz spectrum they will upgrade their 2.5Ghz WiMAX network to 700Mhz and begin to dominate the broadband wireless business. This to include many DSL, cable modem and most cell carriers data networks.

Watch this auction, it will be spectacular as the big deep pocket firms beat each other up and the US Congress will smile.

FTTH will be the only viable wired network standing come 2015, with Gig to each premises and 100Gbit/s backbones.