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WiMAX steps up to UMTS

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WiMAXMobile WiMAX is making some headway in Europe, gaining ground on UMTS. The International Telecommunication Union has decided that OFDM-based technologies, such as WiMAX should be included in the ITU’s international IMT2000 standard. European countries such as Norway, Sweden, and the UK are touting the decision as a step towards fair play in the future of wireless technology.

“This is a good sign for technology neutrality becoming the accepted approach for spectrum auctions in the future,” says ABI Research analyst Ian Cox. “Mobile WiMAX products will start to appear in 2007 and can be used in unpaired spectrum, giving them an opportunity not available to UMTS.”

It’s good to see regulators realizing how huge WiMAX is going to be and paving the way for it to happen.

Mobile data prices forecasted to drop

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AnalsysA recent report from Analysys is forecasting a drop in voice and data rates due to growing popularity in low-cost data packages, Skype, WiMAX and other “transparent data pipes” like Wi-Fi. All of those things sound great to us, but unless carriers can provide competitive plans, they’ll be severely undercut by these third-party service providers.

“There is increasing uncertainty over the future of the wireless industry, and it could evolve in radically different ways,” says co-author Dr Mark Heath. “Organisations need to generate robust plans to steer the industry in their preferred direction, and to ensure success regardless of how the market develops.”

The report outlines three possible scenarios: either low-cost data pipes, emerging markets thriving on accesible, low-cost services, or cellular going indoors thanks to Wi-Fi and the like. All three are happening to varying degrees now, but which emerges as the clear next step for the wireless industry remains to be seen. What do you guys think?

Mobile WiMAX to have 8% market share by 2012

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Jack Black predicts the future Perceptive readers of BlackBerry Cool will notice that we’ve been all aboard the WiMAX train lately, even though BlackBerry Wi-Fi is still very nascent. That’s why we’re excited by news coming from Parks Associates, who have forecasted that Mobile WiMAX will connect 8% of the world’s 1.1 billion mobile broadband subscribers in the year 2000… and 12. That’s about 88 million subscribers worldwide, for the folks keeping score at home. Parks Associates also reported that 52% of these subscribers will derive from Asia, with the Americas accounting for another 28%.

“Today, most existing WiMAX deployments are the province of aspiring start-up service providers or incumbent telecom carriers looking to fill coverage gaps,” said Yuanzhe (Michael) Cai, Director of Broadband and Gaming, Parks Associates. “The imminent availability of commercial products and increasing availability of spectrum around the world will change the market for mobile WiMAX and make it viable among major service providers. Taiwan alone will have eight million mobile WiMAX subscribers by 2012.”

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Sprint building up WiMax, PTT

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SprintSo long as we’re talking about WiMax, Sprint is going to be ramping up their WiMax network in the near future, Chief Financial Officer Paul Saleh claiming ten times cost performance, which means they can build and maintain the network for hella cheap. Bottom line? Lower data rates for us end-users, or at least those of us rolling with Sprint. Also coming through the tubes is push to talk on Sprint. The carrier wasn’t doing so hot earlier, but between PTT, unlimited data and WiMax, Sprint’s definitely still in the game.

Nokia – Qualcomm fight slows down 3G progress

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Nokia

While Nokia is fighting tooth and nail for GSM rights, they’re admitting more legally unfettered technologies might have time to make progress while Nokia and Qualcomm’s 3G efforts are stunted. In response to a recent competition among manufacturers to produce 3G handhelds in the $100 price range, which was won by LG, Nokia’s Chief Technology Officer Tero Ojanpera said:

“3G is not about cheap price but about new capabilities, … It’s not the first priority to have a cheap phone.”

That’s an especially interesting statement considering their movement in India. If Nokia is setting budget products and 3G as mutually exclusive, then it looks like India’s going to be stuck with second-rate (but accessible) service for some time, that is, unless, someone can step in to fill that higher-end niche.

WiMAX grows 85% in 2007

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WiMAX technology graphicWith hands-on evidence of Wi-Fi powered BlackBerrys just now appearing, it might be a little hasty to be talking about WiMAX. However, recent reports from research firm Maravedis indicate that maybe we’re not too crazy. Maravedis states that increased global deployments of WiMAX has lead to an 85% spike in subscribers and a corresponding growth in service revenue.

For those of you not in the know, WiMAX is a 4Gish technology based upon the IEEE 802.16 standard, which should might take over the mobile world in the near future. Call us dreamers, but the BBCool staff simply drools over the thought of WiMAX BlackBerrys in two years time (or less).

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