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Qualcomm has signed with Soma the first licensing deal for its portfolio of what it claims are patents covering WiMax technology: My good friend and colleague Nancy Gohring writes for IDG News Service that Qualcomm acquired these patents as part of its purchase of Flarion Technologies. Flarion has pursued broadband wireless via a standard developing in 802.20 (mobile broadband wireless access), while WiMax emerged out of the 802.16 working group (broadband wireless access). Mobility was inserted into WiMax via 802.16e (now 802.16-2005), which covers fixed, nomadic/portable, and mobile broadband.
Qualcomm wouldn’t comment for the story, but analysts expect this unnecessary public announcement was a shot across the bow to signal their intent. Alvarion says in this report that they and other industry leaders believe Qualcomm’s patents aren’t relevant to WiMax.
Unstrung reports on what they term one of the most significant WiMax installations to date: The report says that Muskegon County will have WiMax-based broadband wireless service from Arialink Wireless. The company is financing part of the operation; state and federal grants are also involved. The base service is 3 Mbps for $18.99 per month, and the company will use Samsung’s early 802.16e equipment. The 802.16e standard incorporates fixed, nomadic (portable but fixed in use), and mobile WiMax, although there’s still a lot of work to be done to create a certified, interoperable version for general release.
The broadband firm will install base station on 16 towers along with 110 microcells on buildings and utility poles and use the 2.5 GHz band, which is largely owned by Sprint Nextel and Clearwire.
The article does contain the extraordinary statement: “Unlike other networks that vendors have called “pre-WiMax,” says Schreiber, the Muskegon system will be fully compliant with the new 802.16e standard.”
Pre-WiMax or WiMax-ready has typically referred to the 802.16-2004 standard (incorporating 802.16 through 802.16d) rather than 802.16e. And many of the 802.16-2004 compliant systems, including some that are now fully certified in the first wave of WiMax Forum testing, claimed full compliance with 802.16-2004.
NetNearU will deploy Wi-Fi, WiMax: The hotspot service firm has apparently deployed 327 Wi-Fi hotspots in Nigeria, with 300 turned on at a ceremony noting the Intel and NetNearU partnership. The article is a little hazy on all the technical details, but it sounds as if NetNearU will offer WiMax for final mile to the home and to businesses, while also using it to power their hotspots.
The article says that up to 50 cities in the UK could offer WiMax networks: Intel is investing £14 million in Pipex, which plans to roll service out broadly by 2008. The company currently competes in other telecoms businesses. The rollout will start in Manchester in 2007 with eight large cities added in 2008; up to 50 would eventually get the networks.
Clearly, these are 802.16e networks as the reporter says only two WiMax licenses are available in the UK, which would likely refer to specific frequencies that carriers would want to use for fixed and mobile WiMax with 802.16e. Unstrung reports that these are 3.6 GHz licenses.
Pipex had revenues of nearly £102m last year with £7.1m in profit. This isn’t a startup, but a going concern expanding into a new arena. The Independent says that only one other license for this type of service is available and issued—to Hong Kong firm PCCW, which long ago was an investor in airport Wi-Fi.