& cplSiteName &

WiMax & 'Jet Blue Economics'

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
11/16/2005
50%
50%

Just what does it take to build a business serving wireless broadband to enterprise customers in a space that is littered with the burnt-out remains of startups that have tried and generally failed to, ahem, light up the market.

Jeff Thompson, the newly appointed CEO of business-oriented wireless broadband service provider TowerStream Corp. was on hand to provide some insights in his keynote this afternoon at the latest Light Leading Live show, WiMax: From Development to Deployment, held at the Westin Times Square in New York City this Wednesday.

Thompson hit on a variety of topics during his hour-long presentation, but he focused on how a startup can build and expand a wireless broadband business in the face of fierce competition from competitors new and old, service and maintain a customers, and exploit the advantages of wireless in getting service up and running quickly.

“It’s 'Jet Blue' economics versus 'Delta' economics,” Thompson told the crowd.

Own the infrastructure, own the air
TowerStream owns its own metro-ring backbone and last-mile connectivity in the U.S., and this is a key factor in controlling its outlay, according to the CEO: “There’s no monthly recurring costs."

Similarly, the company has been trying to “scoop up properties throughout major markets in the U.S.,” so that when it comes time to place its “pre-WiMax” base stations, the firm can offer customers the best line-of-sight or near line-of-sight connections and set them up quickly.

“Customer acquisition costs are much less expensive when you have prime real estate,” Thompson says.

And TowerStream has already leased some major “beachfront properties” -- as Thompson calls them -- most notably The Empire State Building in NYC.

But getting such access is a definite potential hangup for startups looking to enter the market. “It literally takes years to sign quality leases,” warns Thompson.

And the firm won’t “light up” a customer’s premises on a whim, even if it has base stations in place. “Every time we light a building it’s with a customer that gives us at least $500 a month." What does a WiMax customer want anyway?
Unsurprisingly, customers for wireless broadband services are like technology buyers the world over: They want low cost, reliability, high data transfer speeds, and customer service.

“One of the things they like about TowerStream is the fact that they get to speak to a representative within 30 seconds,” says Thompson.

But he adds that recent events have opened people’s eyes to the need for speed of installation and flexibility of wireless for broadband customers.

“We can install in 48 hours… That’s been crucial in the last two months with all of the weather that has affected legacy equipment.

“It’s been monsoon weather in New York and New England [two of the firm’s key markets]… We’ve had 10 inches of rain. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The never-ending rain resulted in flooding and the loss of connectivity for some users running over copper. “There’s no way you’re able to repair soaked copper when it’s still covered with rain -- we were able to get them up and running."

More services at lower cost
One of the keys to working with WiMax and the precursors to this technology is to exploit the new applications offered by wireless broadband. VOIP is a key service for the TowerStream chief.

“The WiMAX Forum has been very proactive, not just with fixed but with mobile as well, in supporting VOIP,” notes Thompson, who adds that WiMax vendors have SOHO/CPE units with SIP ports onboard. Session Initial Protocol (SIP) is the code that enables an IP call setup over these networks. Indeed SOMA Networks Inc. showed Unstrung a pre-WiMax unit with RJ jacks for home phones here at the show.

“It enables us to offer products that did not exist in the past,” says the TowerStream boss.

Spectrum? No problem
Interestingly, Thompson has a unique take on the issue of the availability of licensed WiMax spectrum in the U.S., something that many talking heads say could dog the adoption of the technology over here.

TowerStream has always used unlicensed spectrum for its services, and Thompson doesn’t expect that to change any time soon. “We’ve got plenty of spectrum now... and in my opinion, the spectrum is the most polluted it has ever been right now. I think it’s actually going to get better."

Part of this improvement will be precipitated by the arrival of the first wave of standardized WiMax equipment in 2006, Thompson reckons, because wireless channel sizes will be more regular, predictable, and quite possibly smaller. “We’ll get rid of the some of the weird 30MHz channels from the proprietary guys,” he chuckles. “Things are actually going to improve.”

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
Download our complete guide to de-risking NFV deployment in 2016, including:
  • An eight-step strategy to deploying NFV safely, based on input from the companies that have already started virtualizing their production networks.
  • Interviews with leading executives at Colt, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Cisco, Nokia, ZTE, Ericsson and Heavy Reading.
  • Flash Poll
    Live Streaming Video
    Prepping for the Future: Upskill U Explained
    During this short kick-off video, Doug Webster, Vice President of Service Provider Marketing, Cisco, and Light Reading’s CEO & Founder Steve Saunders give an overview of Upskill U.
    LRTV Interviews
    AT&T Expert on the Key Pillars of UC

    4|29|16   |   03:58   |   (0) comments


    Vishy Gopalakrishnan, AVP of product marketing at AT&T, talks about the three developments that are making unified communications and collaboration secure and reliable for enterprise users.
    LRTV Documentaries
    LRTV Report: Mobile Core Innovation

    4|28|16   |   25:32   |   (0) comments


    Hear from multiple industry experts from Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom, Heavy Reading, Huawei, Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, NEC and many more about developments in the mobile core as operators virtualize their IMS and evolved packet core systems and prepare for a 5G world.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    NFV World Congress Highlight

    4|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


    The highlight of the NFV World Congress contains exciting telecom news. Join us for an inside look at Huawei's ICT 2020 plan and its latest collaboration with industry leaders.
    LRTV Interviews
    Unified Comms Finds Its Voice

    4|25|16   |   03:44   |   (0) comments


    Peter Quinlan, VP of UCC Product Management at Tata Communications, talks about the evolution of the unified communications and collaboration services sector and how voice is now a big part of current developments.
    LRTV Documentaries
    So... What Do We Do Now?

    4|25|16   |   03:24   |   (0) comments


    After a long hiatus, Max Dingman, the CEO of a GeeGhiz, returns for a motivational board room pep talk.
    LRTV Documentaries
    NAB 2016 Highlights

    4|21|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Light Reading's Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick climbs down from the slots to tell us about the latest news in broadcast technology at NAB 2016 in Las Vegas.
    Between the CEOs
    CEO Chat: Deepfield's Craig Labovitz

    4|21|16   |     |   (0) comments


    In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
    Shades of Ray
    Leading Lights 2016: Shortlists Announced

    4|20|16   |   0:53   |   (0) comments


    The judging is over and the Leading Lights 2016 shortlists have been published -- you can see who made the cut by clicking on this link.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Introducing MulteFire – Qualcomm at MWC 2016

    4|18|16   |   3.29   |   (0) comments


    MulteFire is the latest option for using LTE in unlicensed spectrum. As oppose to its close 'siblings', LAA and LTE-U, MulteFire operates solely in unlicensed spectrum, which enables it to offer the best of two worlds – LTE-like performance with WiFi-like deployment simplicity. In this interview, Sanjeev Athalye, Sr. Director, Product Management at Qualcomm ...
    Between the CEOs
    CEO Chat: Grant Van Rooyen of Cologix

    4|18|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    ONS 2016 – Demonstration of Huawei's NetMatrix Multi-Vendor SDN Orchestrator

    4|15|16   |     |   (0) comments


    This demonstration shows how Huawei's NetMatrix SDN Orchestrator (SDN-O) addresses an operator's core service agility needs for services spanning multi-domain, multivendor networks: it includes a demonstration of:
    - Rapid New Service Design: using YANG to model a complex example of multi-domain, multivendor L3VPN network connectivity service that ...
    LRTV Custom TV
    AT&T Wants to Own North Carolina

    4|15|16   |     |   (1) comment


    Venessa Harrison, president of North Carolina for AT&T, tells how the company will expand its GigaPower service beyond the seven N.C. cities it already serves.

  • This blog, sponsored by AT&T, is the second part of a ten-part series examining next-generation broadband technologies titled "Behind the Speeds."
  • Upcoming Live Events
    May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
    May 23, 2016, Austin Convention Center
    May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
    December 6-8, 2016,
    June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    All Upcoming Live Events
    Infographics
    A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
    Hot Topics
    Ultra-Broadband Summit, Hong Kong
    Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/27/2016
    WiCipedia: Woman Cards & Bitch Switches
    Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 4/29/2016
    Amazon AWS Reports $2.6B Quarterly Revenue, Up a Colossal 64%
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/28/2016
    FCC Poised to Re-Regulate Wholesale Access
    Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/28/2016
    Mitel Asks: What Time of Day Do You Shower?
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/25/2016
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed
    BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
    In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
    Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
    Animals with Phones
    Live Digital Audio

    Of all the tech companies in the Valley, Intel has made the most aggressive commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. It's doing so by taking concrete, measurable steps, making a large financial investment and through a commitment to complete transparency about its progress. In this radio show, WiC Director Sarah Thomas will be joined by Shlomit Weiss, Intel's Vice President, Data Center Group, and General Manager of Networking Engineering, who will share with us why Intel is tackling this huge challenge, how and to what effect. She will also discuss her unique experiences leading development of Client SOC development in the past and today leading development of all of the chipmaker's silicon hardware for networking IPs and discrete devices and managing a team of 600 engineers across Israel, Europe and the US.