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 IPTV Industry


Technology White Papers

Cellular Carriers and WiMAX

WiMAX a "disruptive technology" for carrier ecosystems?

Other Topics: 3650MHz Band on WiMAX Industry, WiMAX VoIP Acquisitions

July 15, 2005

WiMAX overlaps cellular technology significantly, and every cellular operator will have to consider WiMAX, says ABI Research in a report released today. Carrier WiMAX initiatives will disrupt the entire carrier ecosystem, including infrastructure and access device makers, phone vendors, and even chip makers, the ABI report suggests.


According to ABI, Ireland's O2 recently trialed WiMAX as a way to deliver broadband services to households and small businesses over a broad area. Sprint and Motorola, meanwhile, will collaborate in 2005 and 2006 on tests of WiMAX for "future interactive multimedia services," ABI says.

Other carriers are likely to test WiMAX as well, according to ABI Principal Analyst Alan Varghese. "It may be true that the first step was easier for Sprint because they have plentiful 2.5GHz spectrum. And for O2, WiMAX was a natural extension of the WLAN hotspots they have deployed across Ireland. But every cellular operator is going to have to consider WiMAX in their strategic planning."

Varghese cites five reasons why he expects carriers to take an interest in WiMAX:

  • Cellular network congestion due to high speed data

  • Multimedia take-rates

  • Spectral efficiencies and cost per bit of transmission

  • Operator frequency spectrum strategy

  • The vision of delivering personal broadband

Carrier interest in WiMAX will have a disruptive effect on the whole carrier ecosystem, Varghese says, including infrastructure manufacturers, CPE (customer premises equipment) and handset OEMs, and even semiconductor vendors.

Varghese concludes that despite the considerable investments required to bring WiMAX networks on-line, carriers can make money from WiMAX, without cannibalizing existing business. The details are available in ABI's new study, "WiMAX Semiconductors -- Chipsets, Technologies, and Market Drivers," which examines market drivers for WiMAX, business models, global WiMAX development, deployment schedules, and worldwide frequency plans.

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