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August 24, 2006

Business 2.0, WSJ on Mobile WiMax

By Glenn Fleishman

Business 2.0 focuses on Sprint’s business, the Wall Street Journal on the Intel/Qualcomm fight over future mobile data communications: B2.0 looks into whether mobile WiMax could help Sprint Nextel meet the numbers, like reducing churn and having a lower cost to have next-generation network speeds.

The Journal offers an in-depth look into competing giants Intel and Qualcomm, and how their varying commitments to single-vendor, single-patent-owner technology (Qualcomm) and multi-vendor, multi-patent-holder technology (Intel) have shaped the decisions made by Sprint Nextel and others in investing in the future. Sprint said that they preferred a fourth-generation mobile technology that had an ecosystem, and that leaves Qualcomm out with its Flarion approach. (They may eventually built a community around it though.)

The article cites the “WhyMAX?” white paper written by Qualcomm’s Jeffrey Belk, their head of marketing, and explains that it was part of Qualcomm’s attack on the mobile WiMax marketplace. What they don’t mention for reasons of space, I imagine, is that Belk’s concerns were legitimate, in my analysis: issues like spectrum costs and real-estate availability as well as actual shipping equipment being absent were among his major concerns. Sprint and Clearwire bought the spectrum for quite a lot less than comparable 3G licenses due to timing and at least one bankruptcy that let Sprint Nextel get some licenses at a fire sale. Real-estate and siting isn’t an issue for Sprint, which owns towers and air rights, but it will be for Clearwire. And three major vendors have committed to mobile WiMax equipment—Intel, Samsung, and Motorola—which solves that problem.

Posted by Glennf at August 24, 2006 4:11 PM

Categories: Mobile WiMax, mainstream press


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