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3G/HSPA

Startups Battle for Scraps?

The latest research into network infrastructure spending makes difficult reading for the crowd of wireless broadband startups attempting to win carrier business with their alternative 3G technologies.

Data from the crystal ball gazers over at ABI Research suggests that newbies such as ArrayComm Inc., Flarion Technologies, IPWireless Inc., and Navini Networks Inc. may be left fighting over only a fraction of the total infrastructure market in the next four years, as expenditure on traditional cellular networks continues to dominate headlines.

ABI predicts that the market for W-CDMA (Wideband Code-Division Multiple Access) and CDMA2000 1x EV-DO deployments will expand over 40 percent on a CAGR-basis, eventually representing nearly 70 percent of a $16 billion infrastructure market by 2007.

This figure appears to ignore expenditure on established GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and CDMA networks, as well as developing interest in faster EDGE (Enhanced Data for GSM Environment) technology, leaving alternative players with a miniscule market in which to flog their wares (see A Wireless Taxonomy for further detail on the different technologies).

“The markets for traditional cellular networks will continue to dominate due to their ubiquitous nature,” states ABI’s director of research Edward Rerisi. “Until consumers and businesses demand ever-present fixed/portable broadband wireless coverage, 802.16/20 deployments will not be as extensive. This leaves the door open in the foreseeable future to traditional cellular networks.”

Rerisi notes that the recent spate of W-CDMA and CDMA2000 deals is evidence of the rise in contract wins during the first half of 2003, indicating momentum for traditional equipment providers (see Ericsson Does Kazakh CDMA, Sunrise Shines on Nokia, and Lucent Does EV-DO in Korea ).

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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lrmobile_castro 12/4/2012 | 11:29:07 PM
re: Startups Battle for Scraps? "Until consumers and businesses demand ever-present fixed/portable broadband wireless coverage, 802.16/20 deployments will not be as extensive. "

Am i missing something here. i never knew the intention of 802.16 was to compete with 3G? 40% annual growth for WCDMA?
jacksullivan66 12/4/2012 | 11:29:04 PM
re: Startups Battle for Scraps? I have to agree with Castro on this one... I'm normally a huge fan of your coverage and insight - but the comparison of 802.16/.20 to 3G is a poor one...

Nobody expects 3G to be a backhaul, W-MAN solution anytime soon. Navini et all are tying to deploy last mile broadband to consumers and businesses - competing most directly with traditional telcos, not cellcos...

Many are showing renewed excitement for fixed wireless consumer services because DSL and cable solutions to the home are becoming the bottleneck in a world where 802.11 is gaining traction as a home networking solution (with even faster, 802.15.3/.3a speeds just around the corner).

Unless somebody knows how to pump 11Mb/s+ cost effectively over cable/DSL lines - fixed wireless' future is indeed bright...
lrmobile_castro 12/4/2012 | 11:29:00 PM
re: Startups Battle for Scraps? Here are a few other points that might be worth considering.

1) The 802.20 charter is not looking at fixed/portable. It is looking at full speed mobility beyond 200 km/h

2) IP Wireless is using W-CDMA. Their variant is IP based but they are using UMTS and they scored a rather nice $500 milliion contract just recently. Not bad.

3) 802.20 could in fact become W-CDMA, though a different implementation than the existing one that is being sold by incumbents today. The 802.20 charter is about packet based, data protocols. There is no standard yet. The air interface might be OFDM. it might be WCDMA. Too early to say.

3) Arraycomm's intellicell is already a huge success in the PHS world. And it could be applied to WCDMA just as easily as to phs. In fact, i believe someone was doing this. So again Arraycomm and WCDMA could be one in the same. iBurst, their other product, is doing quite nicely in tests.

4) flarion just scored a nice investment from one of the worlds biggest carriers (T-mobile). Odds are good that T-mobile intends to do something with that.

5) Navini is doing quite well. Yes they are mainly getting small to mid-sized contracts but those contracts are adding up. Navini TD-SCDMA could become part of 802.20 and it could also end up playing a role in china, where TD-SCDMA is the 3G standard.



IPobserver 12/4/2012 | 11:28:59 PM
re: Startups Battle for Scraps? To what extent do you think these GǣalternativeGǥ cellular vendors are hampered by working outside the mainstream of WCDMA (3GPP) and CDMA (3GPP2)?

IGve heard a few high-ups at the major vendors say these companies have some great technology, but really need to Gǣjoin the familyGǥ to become successful.

I wonder if Gǣjoin the familyGǥ is a euphemism for knocking back the technology 5 G 10 years via the standards process, or is it really necessary?
Boloman 12/4/2012 | 11:28:59 PM
re: Startups Battle for Scraps? You said
2) IP Wireless is using W-CDMA. Their variant is IP based but they are using UMTS and they scored a rather nice $500 milliion contract just recently. Not bad.

It would be fantastic for them if it were true. even IPW does not suggest they have a contract of that size. They were part of a $180million contract won by Thales from a no-subscriber startup in Malaysia. How much is for IPW is not being disclosed.
lrmobile_castro 12/4/2012 | 11:28:56 PM
re: Startups Battle for Scraps? Was it $180 million. Fine that is still impressive, and they are still using UMTS WCDMA. I think some points have to be made

I doubt navini ever intended to be perceived as a replacement to 3G. I think the main model there is to enable fixed carriers who deploy navini gear to provide mobile or portable services over time. so the competition is between carriers not vendors. The same roughly applies to Arraycomm's iBurst. I can't say i understand the counter arguments against either. They are not after potential UMTS (conventional version) carriers.

Intellicell, also from arraycomm, as i said previously is really a refinement to UMTS or GSM or PHS.

That brings us to flarion. Flarion is the only member of this group that is really trying to compete head to head with UMTS for the same carrier dollars. Now my understanding is that even flarion is being marketed as a WCDMA complement in Europe. You run data on flarion and voice on WCDMA. In the end that means that the WCDMA contracts might not be as big as otherwise.

Of course now we are back to IP Wireless. Criticism about IP Wireless from UMTS advocates is misplaced. IP Wireless is using UMTS. They are really offering something that looks more like HSDPA than release 99. That is it.

Again, 802.20 is not a standard yet. There are groups in there who are advocating CDMA, possibly WCDMA. Qualcomm is one of them. I don't think you can say that WCDMA will kill 802.20 because again 802.20 could be wcdma or ofdm or TD-SCDMA.

Regarding the standards process. That is circular logic. As it stands, you really can't become a standard unless you are endorsed by the major vendors but the major vendors won't endorse something that does not have their IPR in it. I think this industry needs a few bold mavericks to forego the standards and conventions. There is a place in this market for a legit mobile data technology right along side the existing voice networks (which i consider the common variant of UMTS to be one of).

spc_myles_telos 12/4/2012 | 11:28:56 PM
re: Startups Battle for Scraps? Docsis 2.0

We're getting it at the beginning of the new year locally, I believe. This means higher speeds, QoS and Packet Telephony...

I think I've seen numbers like 30-40Mbps. Sounds groovy to me, I don't mind swapping cable modems...
lrmobile_castro 12/4/2012 | 11:28:53 PM
re: Startups Battle for Scraps? " wonder if ?join the family? is a euphemism for knocking back the technology 5 ? 10 years via the standards process, or is it really necessary?"

i think it is the former (a euphemism) and i think that is quite unfortunate. Adam Smith would not be happy.
El Rupester 12/4/2012 | 11:27:07 PM
re: Startups Battle for Scraps? One other thing...

Terminology can get confusing - and could get worse.

As Castro points out, 802.20 has not yet decided on modulation so it /could/ adopt WCDMA (but that wouldn't make it 'WCDMA' in the sense of UMTS 3GPP WCDMA FDD). That said, OFDM is prety much a done deal and a stitch-up.

However, within UMTS there is project for a next generation mode which is working on OFDM ;)

(Meanwhile, most of the 4G stuff seems to have decided "we won't argue between CDMA & OFDM, we'll do both" with MC-CDMA !)
El Rupester 12/4/2012 | 11:27:07 PM
re: Startups Battle for Scraps? There is a degree of confusion.

One thing to bear in mind is that the laws of physics are pretty similar for all of these, and the characteristics will be pretty similar as a result...

Although some marketing departments are not constrained by Shannon's Law, spectrum allocations or any other form of reality, it is hard to make much revenue off spin for very long...



802.16 is optimised for fixed applications, which could be DSL replacement for rural areas, or could be backhaul. It can do high bandwidth (~60Mbps) but that assumes a large channel, and takes advantage of the fact the users are static (and probably have some decent path).

(There is a mobile variant in discussion, but lets ignore that for now...).

WiMAX is essentially a subset of 802.16 with a lot of the comporomises & options stripped out.


I would say, and think most people would agree, that this is nicely complementary to 3G.


On the other hand, 802.20 does indeed require high mobility (250km/h) -- but has essentially the same requirements spec as 3G. The only substantive difference is that .20 is all IP from the begging, while UMTS has it on the roadmap (Release 6).

It is fair to say that .20 is 3G re-invented several years late, and with a large dose of NIH.

While public stance is to say the are complimentary, the email exploders & working sessions are very explicit about competing with 3G.


But I can't see why. Essentially the same performance, several years late, higher cost (lower volumes) -- who needs it?

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