Optical/IP Networks

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 on Light Reading.

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

lrmobile_kumaramitabh 12/5/2012 | 3:35:59 PM
re: WiMax: What's Working Now An excellent article on the deployments which have happened so far. But the true picture lies in the numbers. For example in India alone, BSNL,Tata Communications and Reliance have committed more than $500 million each already. If you really want to see, how WiMAX is working, you need to focus on Asia where the networks are up and running. Stunning demos of WiMAX applications including streaming TV and Gaming were shown at Broadcast Asia 2008 this year. ( see " WiMAX Blooms in Asia at http://www.wimaxbook.net/newde... )

In fact I believe that XOHM, for some reason has become the barometer of the progress of WiMAX in the World, which is far from being true. In fact the delays have given the competing camps of LTE a reason to challange the very technology itself.

However the real reason of writing this piece is to point out that unlike the US the regulators in other countries have only recently started allocating spectrum for WiMAX and there is no doubt that the funds which will be committed to this technology will rise over ten fold in the next two years solely for the reason that it was not possible to invest even if one wanted to do so in the absence of resources.

Fortunately those days are over now and Mobile WiMAX is rolling ahead swiftly with network rollouts and fall in the prices of Chipsets which go in the CPEs and consumer devices.

The Chipsets for WiMAX comprising of the Baseband SoC and the RF Chipset have fallen in the range of $30-40 from over $100 a year back and the projections based on volumes of shipments are likely to take these to Sub $10 levels. At these levels the WiMAX chipsets will be as competitive and hence ubiquitous as the WiFi modules installed almost universally in all mobile devices.

This is not surprising considering that the global subscribers of Mobile WiMAX will exceed 100 million by 2012 and the market for WiMAX services will be worth $5.5 Billion as against just $58 million in 2007.

For LTE, it should suffice to say that with the approval of standards by ITU, their clock begins now against Mobile WiMAX in 2005.

Finally do read the piece on " I heard the future in my Car on http://www.wimaxbook.net/newde... )

Everything is working in WiMAX now, it will start rocking with new WiMAX devices and the XOHM !
freetoair 12/5/2012 | 3:35:58 PM
re: WiMax: What's Working Now Look while I do not think you are spreading mis-information, you certainly are "spinning" it.

India - so far all "fixed" no mobile. Spectrum issues still unresolved??? 3G is where the major investment is going - but I acknowledge significant investment is going to WiMAX. The problem is the ARPU (check mobile ARPU now <$7 USD/month) and the lack of PCs. Tough market.

"...Mobile WiMAX is rolling ahead swiftly with network rollouts..."

Perhaps you should cite some examples to complement the story?

"For LTE, it should suffice to say that with the approval of standards by ITU, their clock begins now against Mobile WiMAX in 2005."

Sure...meanwhile HSPA is providing comparable services now and is widely available - see Unstrung commentary http://www.unstrung.com/docume...

"1 Mbit/s downlink, 128 kbit/s up, doesnGÇÖt sound that impressive GÇô especially somewhere like Amsterdam.

I wrote here IGÇÖm getting 3 to 4 Mbit/s down, 1 Mbit/s up, on 3G/HSPA in London."

I would like to see WiMAX have success - why not? The more the better. But instead of just pushing out your marketing campaign why don't you put out some real data?
- where is Mobile WiMAX deployed?
- how many subs? coverage?
- what is the performance?
- what are the applications getting traction?

"Everything is working in WiMAX now..."

And then perhaps you can justify the above statement with real-world data and facts!
lrmobile_kumaramitabh 12/5/2012 | 3:35:48 PM
re: WiMax: What's Working Now Most of the operators in India have been allocated spectrum in the 3.3-3.6 Ghz band. This includes the majors such as Relcom, Sify, Tata Comminications and Bharti airtel. Even though the initial links were set up using the fixed WiMAX technology, mostly for Enterprise applications,all the new rollouts are happening the mobile WiMAX technology.

The reason I keep pressing this point is that the frequency for Mobiile WiMAX is about to be allocated in the 2.3 and 2.5-2.69 Ghz bands. Unfortunately based on the WRC07 recommendations, mobile operators have started laying claiming for these bands, with the implication that these may be used for 3GPP- LTE rather than WiMAX.

This would be unfortunate considering the mobile wimax ecosystem which is getting created now.

lrmobile_kumaramitabh 12/5/2012 | 3:35:47 PM
re: WiMax: What's Working Now

Some of the recent WiMAX launches include:

Saudi Arabia: Based on AirspanGÇÖs HiperMAX Technology, 3.5 GHz band
Singapore: QMAX based on WiBro technology in 2.3 GHz band
Lebanon: Comium Data Lebanon, based on RedMAX technology
Malta: Go Mobile with Alvarion Technology ( Breeze Max and 4Motion CPEs)
Bulgaria: Max Telecom with Huwei technology
Russia: Available in most countries in the Russian Federation with nearly a dozen companies providing services ( Enforta 32 cities: Kemerovo, Bratsk, Angarsk, Biysk, Rubtsovsk, Prokopyevsk, Tolyatti, Novokuybyshevsk, Saratov, Dimitrovgrad etc., Source: Russian WiMAX Alliance)
Armenia: Comstar
Kenya: Alvarion
USA: South Carolina
Pakistan: Wateen Telecom with Motorola Technology

And many, many others nearing launch.

There is no comparison of HSPA and Mobile WiMAX, as HSPA does not support MBS, which is the key for broadcast applications and has cells which are far too small, and the performance of applications is not guaranteed as per classes of service.
freetoair 12/5/2012 | 3:35:45 PM
re: WiMax: What's Working Now Claiming.16e compliance or using a .16e chipset does not mean the network service is being deloyed as a mobile service offering...perhaps in the next 6 months somedata will appear as to the "number" of mobile subscribers/terminals are in use.

3GPP has MBMS as does MediaFLO. These are well known with real world data...WiMAX has the promise of better performance assuming synchronization, power efficiency, handover and other issues are effectively implemented...but I do not know of a commercial network (not a demo/test) network where this has been proven under load and alot of comparable data is available to compare.
wap545 12/5/2012 | 3:35:44 PM
re: WiMax: What's Working Now Where is a WiMAX network in SC??
freetoair 12/5/2012 | 3:35:43 PM
re: WiMax: What's Working Now let me refine the question:

Where is a "commercial mobile" WiMAX network in SC??

for the rest of the list make the same substitution...
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