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Greg Galitzine

Mobility

In-Stat: WiMAX Market Strong, Yet Some Vendors Shrink from Opportunity

February 10, 2009

According to industry researcher In-Stat, "Broadband communications have become a crucial communications tool, so demand for mobile WiMAX technology remains strong."   But some vendors, especially those slow to migrate to the latest standards, might not be willing to wait around for that demand to translate into tangible sales.   "While the market for 802.16e will continue to grow, it does not mean happy days are here for every vendor," says Daryl Schoolar, In-Stat analyst. "In-Stat expects to see more infrastructure vendors pull back or leave the WiMAX market entirely. This is especially true for vendors that have been slow moving from 802.16d to the 802.16e standard."   According to the In-Stat research: ·         WiMAX base station revenues grew by 137.9% in 2008. ·         Global WiMAX subscriptions will be over 85 million by the end of 2013. ·         Deployments of 802.16e are contributing to the decline of sales in the fixed WiMAX standard, 802.16d.   Seems to me that this market opportunity is real and continues to evolve. With some vendors pulling out before the market matures, it appears that there will be more to go around for the remaining players that do hang in there.

The Bell Has NOT Rung on WiMAX

January 30, 2009

So there's been quite a bit of buzz this past few weeks about the potential demise of WiMAX.   First Nokia stopped production of their WiMAX device, then there was some news about Intel writing off their entire investment in the venture with Clearwire... It was covered all over TMCnet, but Rich summed it up nicely in his post: The Trillion Dollar Question - Is WiMAX Dying?   Now, LTE has its proponents and WiMAX has its detractors, but Carl Ford, writing on the 4GWE blog points out the following:   While many want me to point to LTE as the clear winner, I don't think this would be a sign of WiMAX's apocalypse. I instead see this as a prudent move on Nortel's part to emphasize the pieces of the solutions they own. Partnerships in Telecom are pretty easily forced by the carriers, and the real story is that no carrier is forcing Nortel to support WiMAX.   This maybe proof that WiMAX is in trouble, but it's more likely proof that the legacy Nortel customers are not looking for Nortel to go into new areas with them.   So I asked Scenna Tabesh, director of marketing communications for the WiMAX Forum, for some insight into the Nortel situation as well as the future co-existence of the two 4G approaches, LTE and WiMAX.

ABI Research: Netbooks to Play Secondary Role

January 30, 2009

Looks like ABI has been spending a lot of time researching the netbook market.   A November 2008 study targeting 1,000 North American adults found that only 11% would use a netbook as their primary computer while 79% would purchase a netbook for use in concert with a laptop or desktop computer.   According to ABI Research principal analyst Philip Solis, "While their low price does cause some consumers to view netbooks as a replacement for a laptop given the current economic conditions, the majority view a netbook as being a secondary device."   "Even as a device that is secondary to the PC, this has to cut into the laptop market somewhat. When considering another laptop as an additional device mostly for browsing the web and using other Internet-based communications applications, consumers will find netbooks to be an appropriate alternative."  

Dell to Enter Smartphone Fray?

January 30, 2009

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Dell is planning to release two new SMARTPHONES at the upcoming Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona.   To say it's a tall order to break into this market would be an understatement. Just ask Motorola how tough it could be. And Nokia... And Ericsson...   Blackberry is hot with their Storm smartphone, and of course Apple keeps moving iPhone after iPhone.

Report: Consumers Willing to Pay for Citywide WiFi

January 28, 2009

An interesting report came across my desk; especially noteworthy in light of the economic conditions plaguing the landscape.   According to the "Devicescape Wi-Fi Report" consumers say that they want citywide WiFi and they are willing to pay for it.   The official announcement of the study will be out tomorrow, but I was fortunate enough to get advance notice.   The report was conducted by Decipher, Inc. on behalf of Devicescape and several other players in the WiFi space, and quizzed more than 2,700 WiFi users for their opinions about the technology.   Key findings from the report include:  
  • An overwhelming number of WiFi users expect WiFi while traveling (91%);
  • Most respondents (84%) want citywide WiFi, and many (56%) are willing to pay for it as they would a utility;
  • When traveling, the most-often used device for accessing Wi-Fi was the smartphone, such as an iPhone (vs. laptops);
  • The overwhelming majority of smartphone users (81%) prefer using WiFi over 3G for browsing Web sites, downloading data, Google searches and sending e-mail;
  • 86% of respondents want OEMs to build Wi-Fi into their handsets;
  • 82% of respondents want the service provider to provide an overall 3G/WiFi data package
  The study also found that consumers often find it difficult to get and stay connected to a WiFi network when using a smartphone. The report found that "complicated login screens" were among the most common frustration consumers had when attempting to connect to a WiFi hotspot, and that nearly 90% of handset users want their service provider to offer seamless roaming between 3G and Wi-Fi networks.

Femtocells in the News

January 28, 2009

The femtocell is indicative of much in the technology world these days.   Analysts are generally in agreement that the market opportunity is large, and yet fits and starts - typical of early days in any sector -- abound. Verizon's newly released Network Extender has met with mixed results. T-Mobile's HotSpot@Home service was well received, but ran into a bit of a patent issue late last year. And Ars Technica is reporting today that AT&T slipped up and released details of their offering into the space:   The new offering will be called 3G MicroCell, supports voice and 3G data, and allows 4 simultaneous calls or data sessions.   The product details reported on a new AT&T page, since pulled, were discovered by Engadget and SlipperyBrick.   Adding to the femtocell conversation, IntelliNet Technologies today announced the development of a new integrated femtocell gateway, which combines a femtocell access point controller with a carrier grade security gateway in an industry standard AdvancedTCA platform.   The idea behind this offering is to give service providers and wireless operators the ability to manage thousands of femtocells at once.   Anjan Ghosal, president and CEO of IntelliNet Technologies said:   Cellular phone service is now in line with traditional wireline as a subscriber's primary mode of communication.

Analyst: Netbooks to Surge

January 26, 2009

I bought a netbook, then I returned it without even opening it. It was a good deal, but even still the price was so close to the cost of a full-fledged laptop (with optical drive, bigger hard drive, bigger screen, etc...) that I thought I would either continue to live without or simply wait until the next generation of netbooks arrived.   I have always believed that the holidays are the worst time to buy technology as the stuff they announce at CES a month later is always more exciting. (I take buyer's remorse to extreme levels when it comes to gadgets and tech...)   Maybe waiting was a good thing.   ABI Research just released its forecast for a "market explosion" of netbooks, estimating that in 2009 we can expect to see 35 million netbooks shipped, growing to 139 million by 2013.   ABI Research Practice Director Kevin Burden describes the evolution of the portable computing tool, from the PDAs of "old" to the latest ultra-mobile PCs or UMPCs:   PDA's began our reliance on instant accessible data while traveling. When PDA functionality converged with cellular voice, smartphones became the new darling of mobile professional technology that many expected to evolve into the hub for all data and communication needs for travelling professionals.

Mobile Backhaul Certification

January 21, 2009

A new certification program, designed to act as a benchmark for mobile operators, backhaul providers and end users was launched by the IP/MPLS Forum today.

 

The Mobile Backhaul Certification program will initially focus on certifying standards-compliant implementations of Circuit Emulation services over MPLS as defined in the IP/MPLS Forum's MPLS Mobile Backhaul Initiative (MMBI), which defines how MPLS can be used to backhaul TDM traffic for mobile operators.

 

The certification program will lay out a set of guidelines and test procedures and will be administered by Iometrix, the Forum's certified lab partner.

 

According to Andrew G. Malis, Chairman and President of the IP/MPLS Forum:

 

The Mobile Backhaul Certification Program represents a needed step in the evolution of MPLS solutions which have already proven in lab trials to be ready to meet the needs of operators around the world.

 

The first group of certified vendors will be announced at the MPLS Ethernet World Congress in Paris this February.

Backhaul Looks Good

January 16, 2009

Dragonwave's Vice President of Product Management Dr. Alan Solheim, author of The Middle Mile column that appears regularly on TMCnet, has a new column just out that offers up a hopeful message in light of the rest of the economic bad news that's out there these days.   According to Solheim, the outlook for the backhaul market is bright:   ...the opportunity in front of the backhaul segment in general, and that for packet based radios in particular, is relatively bright. If any networks get built, backhaul wins. If any backhaul gets built, packet radio wins. So while I wouldn't break out the champagne just yet I do believe there is a case for optimism amidst all the doom and gloom.

Praise for LTE, WiMAX' Bad Week

January 9, 2009

  Market researcher ABI Research has released a new study that points to continued enthusiasm for LTE deployment.   Coming on the heels of a turbulent week for WiMAX (see: Intel's $950 million investment write-down and Nokia ceasing production of its only WiMAX device) it's a positive sign indeed for this 4G technology.   Now before we get carried away with the premature burial of WiMAX, it's important to note that Clearwire did light up a new city this week (Portland, OR) and has plans to start service in up to nine other cities in 2009. Let's wait before we get out the shovels.   Still ABI's report Long Term Evolution (LTE) draws attention to the fact that Verizon, (possibly sensing some blood in the water?) has reportedly moved up their LTE deployment plans by a year, from 2010 to 2009.   ABI notes that globally, 18 operators have announced LTE rollout plans.   Writing in the recent report, ABI Research senior analyst Nadine Manjaro said,   ABI Research believes that NTT will also deploy LTE in Japan in 2009. We forecast that by 2013 operators will spend over $8.6 billion on LTE base station infrastructure alone. For operators that have already deployed 3G networks, LTE will be a key CAPEX driver over the next five years.   Manjaro also notes that LTE application development could be a major driver of investment as operators explore which services to deploy.   As an example, Manjaro looks to Sprint and Verizon and their plans to provide third-party access to their GPS data.   The resulting new applications will tie mobility and presence aspects together to create more compelling services than in the past.
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