Carl Ford : 4G Wireless Evolution
Carl Ford
| 4G is the next evolution in wireless technology. Discover how 4G will transform the wireless industry


WiMAX: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times...

November 20, 2008

A new report has just come out from Informa, and the findings have the report's author channeling Dickens.   "It's the best and worst of times for WiMAX," says Mike Roberts, principal analyst at Informa, and author of WiMAX Broadband Convergence: Emerging Fixed, Portable & Mobile Internet Markets - 2nd Edition.   According to Roberts:   WiMAX is a tale of two markets - one being WiMAX as an emerging technology gaining significant momentum in the last year, and the other being the larger converging broadband market, where the runaway success of rival mobile broadband system HSDPA and the acceleration of LTE threatens the opportunity for WiMAX in some markets.   On the WiMAX side of the ledger, we find the launch of services by major operators such as Sprint/Clearwire, commitments to WiMAX by major proponents such as Google, and the long-awaited arrival of WiMAX notebooks and other devices.   On the flip side, HSDPA has reportedly become a runaway success in many markets worldwide, and emerging LTE technology is ramping up and has secured the support of many major mobile operators.   Of course it remains to be seen what will be written in the final chapter of this "tale of two markets." It's clear that we all have great expectations, and while in telecom there is always ample opportunity for at least two market entrants, it's a distinct possibility that for one of these two combatants, it will indeed be a bleak house.    

Clearwire Mum on Xohm Launches, Says LTE a Possibility

December 1, 2008

The new Clearwire just concluded its first conference call with analysts and press types, and while some questions did get answered there were more questions raised by the quick interaction, including a declaration that Clearwire might switch from WiMax to Long Term Evolution (LTE) as a technology base sometime in the future.

While declaring mobile WiMax as the best technology currently available for 4G services, Clearwire CEO Ben Wolff said that LTE (which has been embraced by AT&T and Verizon for their respective 4G wireless data plans) will most likely gain some traction, and as such will be considered as a possible future alternative for Clearwire.

"Mobile WiMax and LTE have a lot in common," said Wolff, who added that Clearwire will build its network infrastructure in such a fashion that will allow the company to move to, or add LTE technology "if we decide it makes sense to do so."

While such a switch would be at least two or three years in the future, some more immediate Clearwire concerns -- including the pending launches of WiMax services in Chicago and Washington, D.C. -- were put on hold, at least until the company's new board of directors can convene for strategic talks. Though Clearwire merger partner Sprint had talked confidently of launching its Xohm-branded services in Chicago and D.C. before the end of 2008, Wolff said Monday that the company didn't have any launch news to share.

"We need to get together with the new board and walk the board through [the planned network launches]," Wolff said.

Clearwire's Wolff: 'Full Speed Ahead' with WiMax

December 6, 2008

Despite what you may have read, heard or thought, there is no chance of Clearwire Corp. (NASDAQ: CLWRD) abandoning WiMax technology anytime soon. Though Clearwire CEO Ben Wolff did talk Monday about the possibility of adding support for Long Term Evolution (LTE) to Clearwire's technology mix sometime in the future, in an interview Thursday morning Wolff left no doubt that Clearwire is solidly behind WiMax, and considers it the best (and only) 4G wireless technology currently available for deployment.

"We have no doubts that we made the right decision" to pick WiMax as the technology for its wireless network rollout, said Wolff in a phone interview. "We are going full-speed ahead with WiMax. It offers a more robust [Internet] experience, at a more economic price point, than any other technology available today."

The confusion over Clearwire's commitment to WiMax came in the wake of a Monday conference call, which was used mainly to report the details of the completion of the merger of Clearwire with Sprint's WiMax assets, and the new branding of its "Clear" WiMax services. At one point in the call, Wolff talked briefly about the possibility of Clearwire adding support for LTE in the future, should the standard become widely adopted and deployed.

Azimuth Looks Ahead After Successful 2008

January 13, 2009

Azimuth Systems, Inc., is on a good run. The company today announced that it had reached a number of major milestones marking the company's continued growth in the broadband wireless industry over the past year, increasing its channel emulator revenue by over 30%, increasing its customer base by more than 25%, (including international growth), and the formation of several partnerships with companies and organizations in the broadband wireless space.   Azimuth provides wireless broadband test equipment and channel emulators for Wi-Fi, WiMAX, LTE and 2G/3G cellular technologies.   Jim Iuliano, Azimuth's CEO was understandably pleased:   "Over the course of our history, Azimuth has excelled at adapting to meet the needs of advanced technology testing for the delivery of high-speed wireless voice, data and video services. As we welcome 2009, we hope to build upon this strength and continue to provide our customers with reliable test equipment and channel emulators designed to meet the needs of the latest generation of wireless, carrier-grade networks and solutions for Wi-Fi, WiMAX, LTE and 2G/3G cellular technologies."

What is Single Carrier all about?

March 13, 2009

One of the next major standard strategies for 3GPP is LTE Advanced. In Release 8 we have SC. Today I am at our friend Dr. Hyung Myungs's Workshop at NYU Poly about Single Carrier - Frequency Division Muliple Access [SC-FDMA]. 

I still have to ask? What is the mission?

Docomo Currents of Change

April 8, 2009

While the rest of the world is looking at 3GPP Release 8 as part of Long Term Evolution,Senior Manager of International PR at DoComo, Shuichiro Ichikoshi, is working  hard to express the trends in Japan.   First of all, while the rest of the world is trying to figure out when to deploy what they are calling LTE (aka 3GPP Rel 8) , Docomo claims it will have LTE deployed at the end of this year.  NTT DoCoMo  has already managed to transmit data at close to 5G bps to a receiver moving at 10 kilometers per hour using 4G technology.  However, the testing of LTE is undefined and internal at this moment.

In the land, where cool apps were the start of a revolution, and where a  number of devices that are cool and web enabled from the get go, the iPhone is not that cool.  Why?  First of all the alphabet keyboard capability is not important to those countries where Kanjei characters are quicker in the menu than a spelling correcting alphabet solution.  Secondly, other than the touch screen, the applications are just as compelling via iMode.

Bottom line, the Japanese are still leading the way toward our broadband future.

Verizon's LTE=Late Ten Evolution

May 14, 2009

Verizon's having Qualcomm fall on its sword earlier in the year with the announcement that LTE was delayed; Verizon's restated their commercial rollout as last half of 2010. If you recall, they were aggressively saying 2009 in 2008 and now they say 2010 in 2009. Now on the positive side, they are going to trial this year. Let's give them credit for pushing the effort ahead of the vendors.

The iPhone Effect on Verizon

June 2, 2009

One of the reasons Verizon is so aggressive in its LTE deployment is Apple's iPhone deal with ATT is only for the 3G generation of iPhone.  As we have reported before the iPhone has given ATT an additional 5M subscribers mostly from the Verizon customer base.

Verizon executives see LTE as a way to align itself with Apple and regain customers.

Its unclear where Verizon's API strategy overlaps or competes with this desire. 

Verizon is agressively seeking to enable some network widgets over the course of the next year which will be available to third party developers.

Other than the iPhone the plan is to have LTE be offered for data services to start.

Intel Finnishing it Connections, or, That's Nokia with an IA

June 25, 2009

Jack Gold who has consulted many friends in the industry and provide great analysis now at J Gold Associates has done a more thorough analysis of the Intel Nokia deal that I highlighted yesterday.  Having talked to friends in both companies, I think Jack understands the considerations very well.  Take a read.


Today, Intel and Nokia announced a long term strategic relationship. There are 3 key parts to this agreement: Intel will license Nokia's technology for 3G HSPA cellular technology for use with its chips; Intel and Nokia will collaborate on making their respective open source implementations of Linux for small devices (Moblin and Maemo) more compatible; and they will collaborate on future Intel architectures (IA) for mobile devices. This is a compelling partnership for several reasons.

Now That CDMA is in the Ericsson Portfolio of Patents?

July 25, 2009

Very different press about Ericsson being acquired by Nortel, then when Nokia Siemens Networks "won" the bid a month ago.

NSN was talking integration, had customers talking about synergies of support and you got the general sense that the deal was about customer acquisition and enabling a smooth transition. I think NSN, even in the loss,  may have benefited from the early win as well with the customer base.  They looked like they were about service and kept a lot of good will.

This time, the customer is being acquired and so are the patents for CDMA, a technology that is not normally of interest to Ericsson, since its portfolio with CDMA is not as strong as its GSM/UMTS patents.

As we head toward Release 9 of the 3GPP standards effort, it will be interesting to see if some of CDMA creeps back in. 3GPP crushed CDMA in previous releases forcing Qualcomm to end its efforts.  However CDMA has been credited with Verizon's success in the past and it maybe they are willing to regret the termination of CDMA now that Ericsson is no longer an antagonist.

The acquistion also has implications for Sprint and the cable operators since they partner and the cable operators like Ericsson's view of service delivery strategies.

My normal rule of thumb is any acquisition takes a year to digest. Now this calls into question the Avaya deal.  So we will stay tuned to discussion.

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