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Cellular Empire Strikes Back – With Marketing

In an epic broadband battle that could reach galactic proportions, the leading cellular industry body has hit back at WiFi and WiMax competitors and launched its own $1 billion mobile broadband marketing campaign.

The GSM Association (GSMA) kicked off the mobile broadband drive, rather suspiciously, on the same day that Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) launched its Xohm so-called 4G WiMax network in Baltimore yesterday. But GSMA project director Ton Brand assures Unstrung that the timing was "pure coincidence." (See Infoblox Unveils 'DNS Firewall', Hello XOHM, and A XOHM Timeline.)

The GSMA-led initiative is intended to promote laptops that have embedded 3G modules inside, which will ship with a new mobile broadband logo [ed note: two little birds that are meant to represent feelings of "freedom and mobility." Or, if you live in Texas, "dinner"]. (See picture below.) The first laptops to get the mobile broadband mark will support 3.6 Mbit/s high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) modules, which in practice gives users a downlink speed of about 1 Mbit/s. Future laptops with embedded 3G modules will support 7.2 Mbit/s and 14.4 Mbit/s.

"There is a lot of alphabet soup coming around the corner," says Brand. "Whether it's HSPA, evolved HSPA, or LTE, we wanted one single brand that would get consumers' attention."

Sixteen mobile operators, laptop makers, and chipset suppliers have joined the initiative, and collectively, they plan to spend $1 billion on advertising to promote the new mobile broadband logo. (See Dell, Vodafone Strike Deal.)

Participating industry players include 3 Group , AsusTek Computer Inc. , Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Gemalto , Lenovo Group Ltd. (Hong Kong: 992), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), Telecom Italia Mobile SpA (Milan: TIM), Telia Company , T-Mobile International AG , Toshiba Corp. (Tokyo: 6502), and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD).

There are 130 different notebook PCs that have embedded 3G modules, according to the GSMA. A recent Unstrung Insider report, 4G Inside: Embedded Modules for Mobile WiMax & LTE, finds embedded modules will have a key role in future so-called 4G networks. (See 4G's Inside Story.)

The GSMA's initiative will be expanded to include "mobile broadband" branded USB dongles, and other devices with embedded 3G modules like cameras, MP3 players, and even, refrigerators.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 3:30:42 PM
re: Cellular Empire Strikes Back – With Marketing The GSM bunch must be shaking in their boots. LTE is years away from deployment, and WiMax is available now.
freetoair 12/5/2012 | 3:30:41 PM
re: Cellular Empire Strikes Back – With Marketing Nonsense from a business perspective, 3G dwarfs WiMAX and it would take years & years to make a dent in the market.

And the fact is WiMAX 802.16e as it stands in current form is comparable to HSPA which is widely deployed today. LTE should be compared to 802.16m both of which are on similar paper timelines.

See Gabriel Brown (Unstrung) on this site for comments on his experience with 3G performance.

Also keep in mind that initially Sprint is only offering USB / PC Card modem - no smartphone. The other major factor you need to compare is "battery life"...this will not be as obvious when using the PC battery...

In any case lets see what the Baltimore "field results" are in a loaded system (which could take a while to achieve) before tossing out off-hand comments.
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