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 Friday, October 03, 2008
Different business strategies for WiMAX deployments

Business News Americas conducted an insightful interview with Aptilo Networks' CEO Torbjorn Ward. Aptilo Networks, a Swedish vendor of integrated service management and access control solutions for WiMAX networks, is witnessing considerable growth in WiMAX markets in the Caribbean and South American regions.

Speaking from the WiMAX World conference in Chicago earlier this week, Ward noted that the business case for WiMAX in developing markets is very different to that in developed markets. In developing nations, wireless infrastructure is deployed to provide voice and Internet coverage to remote areas lacking fixed-line infrastructure. While mobile penetration is often high, broadband penetration is typically very low. In developed markets, WiMAX operators are pushing the concept of advanced 4G connectivity.

On the debate about whether WiMAX or LTE will prove more dominant, Ward observed "this not a horse race in which there is going to be a winner or loser". He noted that there are a variety of technologies competing to provide fixed broadband to the home (such as DSL over copper or fiber and cable).  Ward suggested that LTE is the obvious migration path for mobile operators, while WiMAX may appeal more to greenfield operators. "Who is winning [between cable or wireline operators]?  If you are a cable operator you can only work with cable and if you're a wireline operator you can only work with DSL," Ward said. "My point is that's exactly the same thing when it comes to WiMax and GSM and LTE. If you're a GSM operator, you can offer that over mobile broadband and later LTE. If you're not a GSM license holder, you can offer WiMAX".

Ward quoted Ron Resnick, president of the WiMAX Forum, as stating that there are 1,700 WiMAX licenses in the process of being issued worldwide, in addition to the 300-400 WiMAX operators already active today.

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