Sources: Comcast Wants WiMax Femtos in 2009
CHICAGO -- WiMax World 2008 -- Industry sources expect cable operator Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) to launch WiMax femtocells during the second half of 2009 as part of its work with Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR).
Dave Williams, senior VP for wireless and technology at the cable giant, revealed earlier this year that Comcast is looking at deploying mini-WiMax basestations in the home. (See Orange Reports Interim 2008.) Femtocells can be used to provide better coverage in the home -- particularly helpful when using 2.5 GHz spectrum, which doesn't have great indoor penetration capabilities -- and help to unwire multimedia gizmos that require serious over-the-air broadband capabilities.
Comcast, which is one of the companies funding the "new" Clearwire, is said to want to launch the appliances in the second half of 2009. (See Sprint, Clearwire Create $14.5B WiMax Giant.)
"That probably means 2010 in reality," chuckles one wag at the show.
Comcast, though, is keeping its plans to itself. "We're not commenting," a company spokesman told Unstrung when asked about potential femtocell deployments Wednesday afternoon.
It is known, however, that part of the new Clearwire deal calls for 5 MHz of spectrum across the U.S. to be set aside solely for WiMax femtocells. (See Cable Plays Clearwire Card.) In this scenario, Comcast would use its cable backbone to backhaul the femtocells.
The operator is believed to currently have a request-for-trial (RFT) issued to the femtocell vendor community.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung