back to article WiMAX numbers up, profits down

Tuesday brought a good-news, bad-news pairing to those pushing WiMAX as the next-generation wireless broadband standard. A report released by the market-watchers at Maravedis notes that WiMAX subscriptions during the first quarter of this year were up 75 per cent year-on-year, and now total 3.5 million worldwide users. That, …

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Welcome

Conclusion

"To those who need wireless broadband today, that may be more important than LTE's promise..."

But there, as they say, is the rub. Mobile broadband nowadays means ubiquity and interoperability so LTE still wins out by letting operators get the most out of their existing equipment with HSPA offering comparable speeds to WiMAX. *Especially* as the margins fall.

If on the other hand you're talking about wireless but not mobile broadband then directional connections are the way to go.

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FAIL

"WiMAX has the distinct advantage of its mere existence"

O'really?

Anywhere in particular?

Not in the vast majority of the UK, that's for sure, despite the Intel-funded Pipex Wireless venture (now renamed Freedom4).

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Horses for Courses

Two different technologies with distinct markets...

LTE has a huge future given that it's the accepted upgrade path from both WCDMA/HSDPA and increasingly CDMA also for the World's leading MNOs with exiting revenues and spectrum. 150-200Mb/s data support, 200 users in 5Mhz - hard to argue.

WiMAX also has a fine future albeit in limited markets. It's lower-cost to implement and QoS support from the CPE into the core network ensures it's capable of effectively delivering Voice & Data service in a fixed wireless environment - effectively a replacement for last-mile copper, Coax or Fibre. Nomadic WiMAX is also growing and Clearwire's activities in the US should significantly increase subscriber numbers

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Unhappy

@ Anonymous coward (Fail)

Well try expanding your horizons a bit outside of the technology backwards UK. I'm in Japan at the moment and you can buy WiMAX service here today. There are also a large number of WiMAX deployments in many other countries, India has a lot for example...

Looking for WiMAX in the UK, a country that still hasn't managed to deliver HSDPA for a whole lot of the country, is just wishful thinking. If you base the success of a telecoms product on the UK market then all wireless technologies since GSM have been a downright failure. I'd quite like to be able to make a voice call on my mobile from my home without having to walk outside. LTE in the UK Yeeh right...

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FAIL

"moving forward..."

Nobody who says this should be taken seriously.

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Pint

"technology backwards UK."

It wasn't competent technology people that bid around £4billion per telco for 3G licences. I once had the pleasure of hearing a conversation at GSMworld after the auction between one of the commercial people (who thought there was nothing wrong with that idea) and some engineers (don't know if they were all the same company). Engineers to idiot: "£4billion. How long will it take you to recoup that in service charges, call charges, data charges." Idiot to engineers: "That's not the point".

That *is* exactly the point.

Our UK "industry leaders" have a track record of this kind of insanity. GEC/Marconi largely ignored the world of high tech comms till they realised they'd missed the boat, consequently they paid way over the odds for Fore and Raltec, which turned out to have been a big mistake and was a big part of what brought GEC down. Techies didn't make that decision, mergers and acquisitions consultants in the City (Gordon Brown's "masters of the Universe", right) did.

So don't blame numerate techies.

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Anonymous Coward

Business models

In one corner we have WiMAX which is marketed as wireless broadband and is expected to be priced as broadband. i.e. flat rate fees for near unlimited usage, and being wireless, it invites the use of mobile VoIP. Think of all your existing mobile phone usage on your fixed fee broadband bill?

In the other corner, we have LTE, which is just newer and better mobile phone technology and as such, expects to use the existing mobile phone pricing approaches. i.e. pay per use. Think of paying for all your existing broadband usage through your mobil phone bill?

If you were Vodaphone, or any other existing mobile phone company, which business model do you think would appeal to your shareholders? Not your customers, your shareholders.

If significant start-ups chose to hit the market with WiMAX, they have the chance to dislodge the encumbent players, potentially makeing them obsolete. This debate is no longer about technology, it is about how the end user is expected to pay for the merge between broadband and wireless technologies. Interesting times ahead.

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Black Helicopters

3.5 Million == FAIL

""If significant start-ups chose to hit the market with WiMAX, they have the chance to dislodge the encumbent players, potentially makeing them obsolete. This debate is no longer about technology, it is about how the end user is expected to pay for the merge between broadband and wireless technologies. Interesting times ahead.""

WINAX offers the same capabilities today, as HSPA Mobile Broadband Networks deliver today, comparisons against LTE are wishful thinking - the HSPA networks will/are evolving at least as fast as WIMAX (21Mbps in commercial service in Australia at the moment, 42Mbps by year end)

There are currently around 24 Million Mobile broadband users today, all of whom use the same HSPA networks that 00's of Millions are using their phones on, so there's massive economies of scale advantages there.

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