The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published a rather good report into WiMAX and its impact on competition and regulation. It gives a status report of the technology and its rollout, then outlines the regulatory challenges, such as spectrum allocation, and there’s a series of country-comparison tables on national policies: from issues like which countries have already issued licences to service restrictions, trials and potential services.
One issue it looks at is the potential impact of WiMAX on the new joint GSM/Wi-Fi phones that makers like Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson have announced or are working on. These phones can make calls over Wi-Fi when in range of a wireless hotspot as well as over GSM networks. Users will still make calls over GSM when they are outside the 100 metre range of a typical Wi-Fi signal.
That could all change quickly with the rollout of WiMAX. WiMAX may be able to offer broadband-type speeds over a range of a few kilometres for a flat monthly rate. The availability of a long-range, fast Internet connection on a mobile phone could drastically change the way people make mobile calls. Skype and other VoIP providers may see an increase of traffic that has shifted away from GSM voice.
This vision of the future will hinge on a range of factors including: spectrum availability , regulatory limits on mobility in WiMAX spectrum and the willingness of mobile operators to roll out WiMAX networks if they feel their GSM networks will be cannibalized.
You can download the report for free from the OECD website – http://www.oecd.org/sti/telecom