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« IPWireless Targets 450 MHz Band | Main | WiMax to Serve Niche Markets in U.S. »

February 25, 2005

Ubiquity is Crucial

By Nancy Gohring

While mobility may be key to the potential for WiMax to succeed, the networks must also be ubiquitous, argues David Haskin at Mobile Pipeline: Having WiMax chips built into laptops, as Intel envisions, will be useless unless WiMax networks are fairly widespread. Ubiquity is one aspect where the mobile operators, who are busy upgrading to HSDPA, have an advantage. It’s far easier for them to upgrade their networks to HSDPA for coverage throughout their entire footprint. A similar amount of coverage will take many years for a WiMax provider to build, given that they haven’t started yet and the equipment isn’t available yet.

I suspect that the mobile operators don’t actually want to compete head to head with WiMax. They can make more money by loading their HSDPA networks with applications that end users access via their handsets. These applications, which might include video or music downloads, will earn more revenue per MB and per MHz than straight data access to a PC card in a laptop. For that reason, operators that serve major markets, will continue to price straight data access comparatively high to discourage customers from using HSDPA as a DSL replacement. In fringe markets without much landline broadband competition, the scenario may be different.

Posted by nancyg at February 25, 2005 3:10 PM

Categories: competitive landscape

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