Light Reading

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
Flash Poll
Wagner’s Ring
Data Centers Drive Telcos Into the Future

8|28|14   |   2:20   |   (2) comments


Data centers are at the heart of key trends driving telecom -- network virtualization, the drive for increased agility, and the need to compete with OTT providers.
LRTV Custom TV
Why SPs Should Consider Cisco's EPN

8|27|14   |   5:40   |   (0) comments


Sultan Dawood from Cisco discusses Cisco's EPN, which enables SPs to build agile and programmable networks delivering new network virtualized services using Cisco's Evolved Services Platform (ESP).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Showcase @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   2.56   |   (0) comments


SoftCOM is Huawei's framework for telecom business and network transformation. Haofei Liu, Solution Marketing Manager, Carrier Business Group, Huawei, showcases Huawei's SoftCOM architecture in this video.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of Integrated Solutions on SoftCOM & NFV Monetization

8|26|14   |   4.43   |   (0) comments


Libin Dai, Director of Integrated Solutions, Carrier Business Group, discusses Huawei's SoftCOM and NFV monetization. Huawei believes that NFV monetization should be service-driven rather than network-driven, and that operators should have network transformation, service transformation and a compatible and collaborative ecosystem in place in order to deploy NFV.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of US NFV Lab on CloudEdge & the Future of NFV

8|26|14   |   4.06   |   (0) comments


Sean Chen, Director of US NFV Lab at Huawei, discusses Huawei's new approach to NFV in open collaboration. Huawei believes that through Proof of Concept tests, it could help operators learn and communicate with the industry more effectively. Sean believes that successful implementation of NFV should have its values reaching to end users and discusses how Huawei's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Highlights @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   3.34   |   (0) comments


At the Big Telecom Event in Chicago Huawei showcases its high-level strategy, the SoftCOM architecture, which helps operators reduce the cost of ownership of their network infrastructure and generate additional revenue in the ICT service environment. Huawei showcases over 30 pilot programs from across the globe, focusing on the industry-leading commercial ...
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX – Live from the Show

8|21|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


An overview of VeEX Test and Measurement solutions including TX300S multi-service test set with VeExpress cloud-based management system, UX400 universal modular platform supporting 100G testing, and the redesigned RXT modular platform.
LRTV Custom TV
Transitioning CE 2.0 Networks Into the SDN & NFV Era With Telco Systems

8|19|14   |   5:19   |   (0) comments


Telco Systems' Ariel Efrati (CEO) and Moshe Shimon (VP of Product Management) discuss virtualization and how the company's new Open Metro Edge solution utilizes the SDN and NFV concepts to accelerate and orchestrate service delivery through its innovative product portfolio and software applications.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Myths: Is NFV Still Several Years Away?

8|11|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


Some say that NFV (network functions virtualization) is still several years away from being implemented on mobile operator networks. This isn't the case. Operators can get started on their paths to NFV now, as this short video from Skyfire shows.
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Today's Cartoon
Hot Topics
Rogers, Shaw Take Aim at Netflix
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 8/26/2014
Utilities to Pump $11.2B Into Smart Grid – Study
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 8/26/2014
Verizon Launches QR Code Security Solution
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/26/2014
Nokia's Maps Land on Samsung Devices
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/29/2014
Verizon to Launch HD VoLTE in 'Coming Weeks'
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/26/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed