"There’s tremendous opportunity to package that connectivity that they're used to getting at specific points, and providing services end to end wherever that business or person might be," said Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) VP of wholesale Don Stroberg, a panelist here last week. "I think the MSOs have a unique position. They sit at the local level, but they also service consumers." (See Clearwire Grabs $1.1B in Debt Funding.)
Clearwire, which counts Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), and Bright House Networks among its backers, has seen success in marketing its broadband wireless services to small businesses with five employees or fewer, Stroberg added.
Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) director of portfolio strategy Stuart Bennington said cable operators will benefit from advances in industries ranging from the automobile sector to the medical field. He noted how some countries in Europe have mandated that SIM cards be installed in all new cars by 2014, and also pointed to the invention of the so-called "wireless Band-Aid" for monitoring glucose levels and the like.
"There are all kinds of end user opportunities out there, not to mention specific business in tablets [and] iPads," Bennington said.
Increased competition will also lead to more consolidation in the wireless sector, the panel predicted. "I think there will be three or four players out there eventually," said Lorraine Reynolds, director of market and product strategy at Convergys Corp. (NYSE: CVG).
But the executives said that it’s still too early to tell which 4G broadband wireless technology will dominate, noting that they expect Long Term Evolution (LTE) and WiMax to coexist for several years.
"They both can service the purpose of mobile broadband and provide these types of capabilities," Bennington said.
Taqua LLC EVP of product management Payam Maveddat said it could be many years before 1G networks go away, noting that carriers still rely on that older technology to handle voice traffic, including 911 calls.
"You will not see voice routed over LTE or WiMax any time soon," Maveddat said.
— Steve Donohue, Special to