United States of America
GSM, CDMA2000 1X, CDMA2000 1X EVDO, UMTS, WCDMA, HSDPA, IEEE 802.16e, Proprietary 4G, WiMAX, WRAN, IEEE 802.16-2004, IEEE 802.22, WiBro, mobile phone, basestation
Qualcomm Activities and Market Positioning Analysis
Relative Positioning of Fixed versus Mobile WiMax
The Effect of CSR on the Telecom Market
Convergence of Wireless Connectivity Technologies
WiMAX Industry Description
Analysis of WiMAX Market Drivers in the Telecom Market
Broadband Wireless WiMAX Market Development
Telecom WiMAX Market Analysis
Fixed Wireless Technology Comparison
WiMAX-Related Global Spectrum Allocation & Availability
Analysis of Telecom RF Component Pricing
Analysis of G, G & G Technology Displacement By WiMAX
Analysis of WiMAX Market Potential (Fixed vs Mobile)
Mobile WiMAX Semiconductor Developments
WiMAX Development in Africa
Total Addressable Market Issues for WiMAX in Africa
WiMAX in Pakistan
GSM Market Forecasts
CDMA X Market Forecasts
CDMA X EVDO Market Forecasts
UMTS (WCDMA & HSDPA) Market Forecasts
IEEE e Market Forecasts
Proprietary G Market Forecasts
Fixed WiMAX Market Forecasts
This new communication culture requires new tools and new service models; we have rapidly pressed the old ones into new service: the typewriter, the telephone, the battery to cut loose from the umbilical cord or the power grid. Their second generation offspring, the computer and the mobile phone have been pressed into service to incorporate the internet, and this combination is undergoing an evolution that has yet to stabilize, given the bottleneck of the still inadequate power supply, the dual existence of computer-phone and phone-computer, not to mention the confusion that pervades the service provider market sector, reluctant to spearhead this movement and create the ultimate communication system with visionary verve. So we have created the technology that allows for a patchwork quilt of communication pods in high-density areas that leave large areas around the globe in communication isolation.
Nature abhors a vacuum, so the saying goes. The absence of telecommunication access in remote areas, be it nationally or internationally, represents a communication vacuum, and hence niches of opportunity for the enterprising. Looking at the trend today it is becoming increasingly clear that everything that makes communication possible will move into such niches. We have Wi-Fi and its iterations, Bluetooth, Ultrawideband, HomePlug, Broadband via DSL, Cable, and T1. And now WIMAX.
Yet the WIMAX path to market is beset by an inherent duality between a company trying to be profitable vs. furthering a technology’s IP base and standard. The number of frequency options only complicates the picture, 900 MHz and 700 MHz, 2.3GHz, 3.5 GHz, 4.9 GHz, 5.8 GHz. In addition, there are two paths to a WiMAX standard, depending on the product: system profiles and certification profiles. There are multiple certification profiles for each system profile. To date there is only one system profile: IEEE 802.16-2004, and 5 certification profiles. The system profile for 802.16e (mobile) appears now to have a system profile in place, likely to be 3GHz and 5GHz, to be announced sometime in January 2006. But the dearth of companies actually involved at this stage of development represents a bottleneck to certification; in order to create profiles requires the participation of at least 3 companies. Given that only a handful of companies such as Alvarion, Airspan, Proxim, Siemens, and SR Telecom, are current contributors to the WiMAX Alliance, and that positioning issues such as capturing the premier IP spot in the process lies in defining the QoS portions of certification profiles, it is noteworthy that many of the major players are holding back. The likelihood of any rapid advancement is slim. The bottom line lies with finding the key product that will proliferate the technology and enable peripheral applications. So while most of the companies contemplating membership in the WIMAX enterprise are waiting for others to invest in the unprofitable foundation development to provide the technological platform on which to launch their own success, from the standpoint of the consumer, what this needs is for someone -- like Smarthome in the case of INSTEON -- to come along and say: “here it is, just plug it in and use it”.
Enter Alexander the Great and his sword to solve the problem of the WIMAX Gordian Knot, namely Samsung and Wi-Bro, and KT and ArrayComm, and what seemed another endless, plodding, and seemingly insurmountably complex process to productization is rapidly infused with renewed innovation, possibilities, and vision. Suddenly the focus moved from PC-centered 802.16-2004 fixed WIMAX to an 802.16e OFDM, MIMO and AAS-enhanced mobile handset solution whose appearance on the market horizon was not to have occurred until 2007 at the earliest.
And now, for better or worse, the race is on, except that the shift to mobile WIMAX has created dilemmas of a different sort – for better, because mobility is the name of the game especially salient in Asia where huge market opportunities loom -- for worse, because reconfiguring the 802.16e MAC to be compatible with Wi-Bro it is no longer backward compatible with fixed WIMAX (802.16-2004). The reason is that the WIMAX Forum has decided to ride on the coat tails of the Korean Wi-Bro advance in order to save development time and also gain interoperability in the large Asian market. Hence mobile WIMAX is now capable of sub-channelization or Scalable OFDM Access (adopted from the Samsung Wi-Bro spec) and MIMO and AAS or beam forming smart antenna methods (based on the IEEE spec), and this makes mobile WIMAX incompatible with fixed WIMAX. Wi-Bro is already in trial mode via Korea Telecom and SKT in the 2.5 GHz spectrum. Mobile WIMAX has moved a step closer to being available in the US as the mobile WIMAX spec was approved by the IEEE in Dec. 2005. In fact the first mobile WIMAX product was announced at CES 2006 in Las Vegas in January. The likely service provider in the US will be Sprint NEXTEL, since that company owns 70% of the 2.3 GHz spectrum.
Now the development cycle has shifted to the industry and the WIMAX Forum, rather than the IEEE. The move to accelerate development via collaboration with Samsung and the opportunities this represents has mushroomed membership in the WIMAX Forum, which three years ago was steady at barely 80 members, and today counts 300 plus. This does not increase the number of participating WIMAX developer companies, but interest in the past months has mushroomed especially in mobile WIMAX. Thus it is predictable that the dividing line or focus, roughly, lies with PC vs. telephony technology. Some companies -- for example Motorola, Alcatel, Nextnet, Nortel, and Navini Networks -- are skipping fixed WiMAX altogether with the rationale that skipping the first and/or second necessary but cumbersome certification process saves them money and time, especially since that foundation development does not generate a readily saleable product. The fixed WIMAX company development core around Intel and its WIMAX Alliance that includes Proxim, Airspan, Alvarion, Aperto, RedMAX, is doing just that, and has solid backhaul, base station, and indoor-outdoor products at the ready that the developing nations can utilize to overcome gaps in communication development, again, as they did with the mobile phone. This is clearly the arena where fixed WIMAX is becoming indispensable, but forward-looking nations are filling the gaps un-serviced by conventional broadband as well.
At first glance WiMAX does not fit in developed countries, as there are less expensive alternatives that will out-compete. For example, Israel has begun WIMAX trials; Croatia has awarded 10 WIMAX licenses to WMAX Telecom to service also Slovakia and Austria; the provincial government in Alberta, Canada will make high-speed Internet access, multimedia apps and streaming video and music available to 80% of its territory via fixed WIMAX service using NORTEL backhaul and Airspan equipment. The intent, as everywhere, is to eventually migrate to mobile WIMAX.
It becomes quite obvious that the most profitable future for WiMAX eventually demands that a convergence must be achieved between 802.16e and 802.16-2004, high-speed mobility paired with soft hand-offs and also network management. There are the five product “waves” that must undergo certification, a process that is projected to take 2-3 years.
In conclusion, the uncertainties which accompany the development of WiMAX telecom networks far outweigh the overall market need for a solution which can satisfy the performance requirements of the “Wireless Triple Play”. However, today the market need which is driving WiMAX and other ‘4G’ technologies originates with the service providers. The service providers need to continually develop ‘the next big thing’ in order to differentiate their services to the consumer. If Joe Consumer is asked whether they want to watch TV on their phones, for example, most will have to think about the option for a while. If, however, that same Joe Consumer is evaluating two service packages, they are both the same price, and one includes a TV service for their mobile phone, he is likely to choose the option with the additional service. In reality these developments on the part of service providers will rescue some from inevitable bankruptcy, but most will fade into history.
- TeleCIS Wireless