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Devices/smartphones

This Week in WiMax

3:45 PM -- This week in WiMax, here are the big issues, as I see them:

Looking beyond Mondi
When some pricing problems surfaced this week with Samsung's Mondi mobile Internet device for the Clearwire networks, it got me to thinking: What would be the perfect new device to really show off the power of WiMax networks? The gizmo I am thinking of would combine the best attributes of the Mondi, the WiFi/WiMax Clear Spot router, and maybe some 3G connectivity as well. For software there would need to be an iPhone or Android-quality browser, and either Skype or MagicJack for cheap VoIP calls. I would call it the Bandwidth Backhaul Buddy (3B, patent and trademark pending) and it would go a long way to solving a lot of business or personal connectivity needs.

As it is now, the Mondi looks as if it gets you most of the way there to do tasks perhaps too complex for just a smartphone; but having the ability to use the Mondi's WiMax connection as a mobile hotspot would help justifiy its somewhat inflated price. Because when it comes to work -- real work -- tasks are more easily accomplished on a full-size keyboard, or at least a netbook's approximation. The Bandwidth Backhaul Buddy would then cease being just a mobile device and become the portable, personal hotspot, for either just one device or a workgroup full of WiFi devices.

The Skype and/or MagicJack is there to eliminate the need to carry around a dedicated voice phone -- and to help cut down the costs by eliminating the need to subsidize the carrier voice networks. Is such a device even possible? Don Bush, director of marketing at Cradlepoint, thinks building one now would be expensive and that there might be antenna issues between the competing connectivity options. But what are challenges if not something to overcome? C'mon Google guys, here's something to work on to help monetize your company's WiMax investment. Beats sitting around waiting for Apple to put WiMax into the iPhone, doesn't it?

Sprint already cutting WiMax prices
Lost perhaps in the shuffle of so-called leaked launch dates and the official announcement of more live 4G services from Sprint was the carrier's decision to cut prices on its hybrid 3G/4G equipment and services -- for at least a couple months, the modem is free (after mail-in rebates), and the monthly service is now down to $70, a savings of about $90 from the original pricing of $80 for the card and $80 a month for the service.

At $70 a month for the plan and free for the card, Sprint is essentially throwing in the WiMax connectivity for $10 more than you would pay for a 3G-only data plan from either AT&T or Verizon Wireless. That is the kind of pricing WiMax is going to need to attract attention in a world of increasing mobile-data options. But I think it still needs to go lower to really turn heads. I see $70 a month, do I hear $50? $40? A couple more quarters of 12,000 subscriber adds may help us see how low WiMax can go.

Plugfest
Need to know more about Clearwire and WiMax? My Clearwire NTK report costs less than a triple-soy grande chai latte. Just $4.95 at the Sidecut store. Also available for the Kindle.

— Paul Kapustka is the founder and editor of Sidecut Reports, a WiMax analysis site and research service. He can be reached at [email protected]. Special to Unstrung.

mobileinsider 12/5/2012 | 3:58:17 PM
re: This Week in WiMax

Sprint/Nextel based their entire premise of 4G (mobile WiMAX) on $40 sub/month pricing. 5 years later it is 'priced not to sell.'


Twitter/mobileinsider

IPobserver 12/5/2012 | 3:58:13 PM
re: This Week in WiMax

From what I can see (from my desk in London, ha!) the U.S. market has held-off offering low price data services so far. There don’t seem to be many entry level packages where for $10-20 a month (or prepay) you can get an “okayish” 3G service.

In the U.K. these entry level packages were pushed by the challenger operators (3 and T-Mobile to start with) and have proven very popular, despite data caps, web-only customer service, etc.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 3:58:00 PM
re: This Week in WiMax

Very true. But remember, according to the big telcos here we have lots of competition! Unfortunately all at the same high prices.


Saw that Verizon Wireless is now starting to offer "day pass" options for 3G -- $15 a day, hardly an entry pricing. But I guess it beats $60/month with a 2-year deal. Still have to buy the modem, tho.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 3:58:00 PM
re: This Week in WiMax

Very true. But remember, according to the big telcos here we have lots of competition! Unfortunately all at the same high prices.


Saw that Verizon Wireless is now starting to offer "day pass" options for 3G -- $15 a day, hardly an entry pricing. But I guess it beats $60/month with a 2-year deal. Still have to buy the modem, tho.

IPobserver 12/5/2012 | 3:57:41 PM
re: This Week in WiMax

Although the U.K. market is considered over-competitive now. I think this has been good for consumers so far, but there needs to be balance where operators can make a profit. All the talk here is how to get from 5 operators to 4.

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