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WiMax: What's Working Now 659514

WiMax is starting to take off worldwide. We track the who, what, and wherefore

July 24, 2008

11 Min Read
WiMax: What's Working Now

After two or three years of trials and early small-scale or niche deployments worldwide, WiMax is finally moving towards large-scale deployments by some Tier 1 and Tier 2 operators, particularly in emerging markets. Table 1 gives a snapshot of some of this global activity, which the WiMAX Forum in June 2008 believed had reached 305 deployments in 118 countries – up from 260 deployments in 110 countries in April 2008.

Table 1: Some Current WiMax Operators & Service Deployments

Operator

Location

WiMax activities

Alg�rie T�l�com

Algeria

Deploying WiMax-based Business WLAN service

Altitude

France

Deploying regional 802.16e WiMax networks to supply corporate, ISP and residential users with primary broadband services

Always On Network Bangladesh

Bangladesh

WiMax network deliveingr free Internet access to Bangladesh primary schools and colleges, as well as broadband services to underserved rural and urban areas

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL)

India

To spend up to $750 million on mobile 802.16e WiMax networks in India, covering both urban and rural areas. Initial services in late 2008 or early 2009 for broadband and voice; other applications to follow

Bollor� Telecom

France

Pilot in Paris region in 2007; has 12 regional 802.16e WiMax licences in France

Brasil Telecom

Brazil

Deploying 802.16e WiMax network in in the cities of S�o Paulo, Curitiba and Porto Alegre and surrounding areas

Casema

Netherlands

Trial in 2007 as part of government-sponsored Smart Homes project to increase community welfare through telecoms

Clearwire / Sprint Nextel (merging into new Clearwire company)

USA

Plans to cover 120 - 140 million people by end 2010. First services in some city areas from existing nonmerged companies due late 2008

Comstar UTS

Russia

Deploying 802.16e mobile WiMax network in Moscow area for service launch in 2008

Consolidated Telecommunications Company

USA

Deploying WiMax networks in central Minnesota for broadband voice and data services

Digicel Group

Caribbean

Deploying 802.16e WiMax to deliver primary voice, data VPN and residential broadband to both corporate and residential customers in various Caribbean countries

DigitalBridge Communications

USA

Deploying WiMax broadband services to small and medium-sized communities of up to 150,000 people nationwide. First service in Rexburg, Idaho, in 2007; 12 cities covered by April 2008. Mobile services introduced in Jackson, Wyoming, in June 2008

Enforta

Russia

Small office, home office, or business communications services offered by a mix of technologies, including WiMax and pre-WiMax, in a network rollout that reached 32 cities by end 2007

Ertach Argentina

Argentina

2007 802.16e WiMax trial in the city of Rosario, targeting SME and corporate users with primary fixed and nomadic broadband services, high-speed Internet and advanced voice services

Etihad Atheeb Telecommunication

Saudi Arabia

Deploying WiMax network to offer widespread broadband access; first service beginning in 2008

Far EasTone Telecom

Taiwan

Deploying Taipei urban WiMax as part of governments M-Taiwan project

FREEDOM4 (formerly Pipex Communications)

UK

Two small pilot city rollouts in 2007; plans national mobile WiMax network

Grupo TVCable

Ecuador

Voice-over-WiMax service

HiTs Africa

Africa

Planning to use WiMax in various African countries

Iberbanda

Spain

Offering high-speed Internet, telephony, data transmission and value-dded services in various regions

Kenya Data Networks

Kenya

KDN Butterfly WiMax-based network offers voice and data services in various Kenyan cities

KPN

Netherlands

Ran WiMax versus HSPA test in 2007

Iliad

France

Trials in 2007

Libya Telecom & Technology (LTT)

Libya

Deploying 802.16e WiMax network to cover Tripoli and seven other main cities

Max Telecom

Bulgaria

Deploying national 802.16e mobile WiMax broadband service

MetroBridge

Canada, USA

Fixed WiMax (no mobility) serving businesses only (no residential customers) in British Columbia, Utah and Arizona

Mipps

Canada

Trials of 802.16e fixed broadband wireless access in 2007

Mobilink

Pakistan

Deploying 802.16e WiMax broadband service in major cities

Monarch Communications

Nigeria

Deploying 802.16e WiMax services for businesses, SOHO, SME and residences. Rollout is planned to begin in Lagos and later in Abuja and Port Harcourt

MSTelecom

Angola

Depolying 802.16e WiMax to support residential and SOHO IP services in Northern Angola

MyTel

Pakistan

Started deployment of WiMax for voice and data communications in Northern Region in 2006

ONEMAX

Dominican Republic

Offers Internet, multimedia and VOIP on 802.16e WiMax

OPEL

Australia

To deploy 1361 WiMax base stations by mid-2009 as part of government-backed Australia Connected national broadband open wholesale service (also uses DSL)

Pacific Internet Philippines

Philippines

Initial WiMax deployment in Greater Metro-Manila area for business services

Personal

Paraguay

Network completed in Asunci�n and Great Asunci�n in 2007, with continuing national rollout, offering business and residential services

Pipeline Wireless

USA

Pre-WiMax deployment in Boston metro area being migrated to WiMax mid-2008 for fixed high-bandwidth services with QOS

Primus Telecommunications Canada

Canada

Trials of 802.16e broadband wireless access in 2007

Reliance Communications

India

Plans to deploy WiMax in India

Saudi Telecom

Saudi Arabia

Deploying 802.16e WiMax network in major cities, including Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam

SHD (SFR/Neuf Cegetel JV)

France

802.16e WiMax service in Paris, and planned for Ile-de-France (IDF) and Provence-Alpes-C�te d�Azur (PACA) regions by mid-2009

Solo Direct Connect

USA

802.16e WiMax broadband service in greater Quad Cities Area including Davenport and Bettendorf, IA as well Moline/East Moline and Rock Island, IL

Sprint Nextel (meging with Clearwire to form new Clearwire)

USA

XOHM mobile WiMax commercial services start in Baltimore (third quarter 2008) and in Chicago and Washington, DC (fourth quarter)

Summa Telecom

Russia

Plans to build a nationwide WiMax network that will cover some 330 cities by 2010 with fixed and later mobile broadband serivices

Tata Communications

India

Deploying in 10 Indian cities, including Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. Plans to spend between $500 million and $600 million by 2010 on WiMax networks in India

Telekom Slovenije

Slovenia

WiMax trials began in 2007

Telenor

Norway

Deploying WiMax as fill-in to DSL coverage in rural areas

Telkom

South Africa

Launched Do Broadband Wireless WiMax service in 2007 as DSL fill-in initially

Towerstream

USA

Deploying commercial 802.16e WiMax fixed service in several US cities during 2008; may introduce nomadic services later

TransTelecom

Bulgaria

Initial deployment of 802.16d WiMax in 2006, now upgrading with 802.16e mobile WiMax network, covering central business districts and hot spots in the country's major cities

TVA

Brazil

Trial in Rio Janeiro of 802.16e WiMax

United Information Highway Company

Thailand

Trials completed in 2008 in Bangkok and Phuket of 802.16e WiMax

Unwired Group

Australia

Pre-WiMax ISP to deploy 802.16e mobile WiMax

VDC

Vietnam

Trial deployment in remote village with Intel

Vipfone

Spain

Broadband access in Almeria province since 2007

VSE NET

Germany

802.16e WiMax Saar regional 6Mbit/s broadband service in 2008

VTR

Chile

Deploying 802.16e WiMax to reach 3.4 million homes nationally

Warid

Uganda

Deploying IMS/WiMax network to support advanced services

Wateen Telecom

Pakistan

Deploying national 802.16e WiMax network in Pakistan

Wideway Do Brasil

Brazil

Deploying national WiMax network in Brazil

WiMax Telecom

Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia, Croatia

Deploying 802.16d and 802.16e WiMax networks mainly for residential broadband Internet and VOIP since 2005. Currently expanding in Croatia (initially the areas of Split and Osijek followed by other regions) and Switzerland. Plans advanced multimedia services

Worldmax

Netherlands

Deploying national 802.16e mobile WiMax service

ZAIN

Bahrain

Deployed national WiMax network for high-speed fixed and nomadic internet and voice services in 2007

Most of these deployments were announced or became operational during 2007 and 2008. Many of the more recent ones use the so-called 802.16e standard, even if only fixed or nomadic services are currently offered. Source: Light Reading, 2008



In the U.S., despite the increasing commitment to WiMax by numbers of smaller operators and service providers, there has been some media feeling that WiMax has stalled a little. This is primarily because of the on-again/off-again Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) national mobile WiMax project. This acquired symbolic significance as potentially being the first Tier 1 mobile operator in a big developed market to commit to WiMax for a major national service – but things seemed to be going awry. (See, for example, Sprint Quiet on WiMax Launch Date and Clearwire Q4 Drops, WiMax News Doesn't.) The feeling went that, if Sprint Nextel, which clearly needs something to boost its sagging competitive position in mobile, couldn’t make national Tier 1 WiMax fly, would anyone else bother to try?

However, the recent proposal to fold Clearwire’s and Sprint Nextel’s WiMax assets into a new company (confusingly also called Clearwire), and the bringing in of substantial big-name strategic investors such as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) could mark a change in perceptions. (See Sprint, Clearwire Create $14.5B WiMax Giant.)

“Sprint's WiMax plans had almost meant there was one major player behind WiMax in the U.S., but Sprint's recent troubles had always cast some doubt on whether the project would ever really take off,” says Jan Dawson, practice leader for Wireline, Wholesale, and Regulation at Ovum Ltd. “The new deal puts a number of other serious players and considerable investment behind the project, and makes it much more likely to achieve significant results. The real test will be when the new Clearwire actually starts to offer services, but it at least has the potential to make a big impact on the U.S. market.”

He points out, too, that a consortium of this size is bound to benefit the global market for WiMax through the additional scale it will bring to infrastructure and device markets, which will help to lower prices. Success would also lend credibility to other deployments around the world. However, although Intel and Google are involved, and will contribute to Clearwire's success, both companies have much more interest in maintaining a degree of neutrality in order to boost the much wider markets for wireless services, so they will not give the new venture preferential treatment. The cable companies and other partners also provide a significant potential distribution channel for the services, although each will use its own brand, so the overall impact that might have been achieved under a single brand will be diluted. The U.S. WiMax story is still running...

Read the entire 12-page report here.

— Tim Hills is a freelance telecommunications writer and journalist. He's a regular author of Light Reading reports.

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