Receive new posts as email.
This site operates as an independent editorial operation. Advertising, sponsorships, and other non-editorial materials represent the opinions and messages of their respective origins, and not of the site operator or JiWire, Inc.
Entire site and all contents except otherwise noted © Copyright 2001-2006 by Glenn Fleishman. Some images ©2006 Jupiterimages Corporation. All rights reserved. Please contact us for reprint rights. Linking is, of course, free and encouraged.
Sprint Nextel is reportedly close to adding Nokia as an equipment partner for its Mobile WiMax network: The cellular operator already has deals in place with Motorola and Samsung. Nokia could supply networking hardware and handsets for the new network. The announcement could take place as early as next week, The Wall Street Journal reports. Nokia created a joint venture focused on networking equipment with Siemens earlier in 2006.
BusinessWeek compares the ostensible 2007 IPOs of Clearwire and NextWave: The former has $1.2b in cash on hand, blue-chip investors, and a huge pile of spectrum; the latter, about $200m in cash, and a much more uneven portfolio of frequencies. Where Clearwire said in their SEC filing yesterday that they won’t currently deploy in any market where they don’t have 30 MHz (6 channels of 5 MHz each), NextWave has from 10 MHz to 40 MHz in their markets. Sprint claims 80 to 85 MHz per market. All three firms plan mobile WiMax launches in 2007.
A Sprint VP said that 60 MHz is minimum for broadband. It’s unclear whether Clearwire (and this BusinessWeek article) are counting the same way. Clearwire may mean 5 MHz for each of uplink and downlink directions for a total of 60 MHz, rather than 30 MHz, in the markets they intend to launch in.
BusinessWeek sees NextWave as more likely an acquisition that would place its portfolio and technology within a larger firm’s offering.
(Note that this is NextWave Wireless, a spinoff of the cell carrier that wound up making money by selling spectrum they never deployed on after protracted litigation with the FCC that wound up in the land’s ultimate court; the Supreme Court found in NextWave’s favor. NextNet, which is often confused with NextWave, was a Clearwire subsidiary that made proprietary wireless equipment, which is what Clearwire currently uses for its network. Clearwire sold NextNet to Motorola.)
Clearwire now passes 205m US, 117m European customers: In their revised filing today for an initial public offering of stock, the company reveals their current spectrum holding position. A month ago, they were coy, probably in anticipation of this filing. When I spoke to two heads of the firm for their Greater Seattle area, I asked if the 90m people passed figure was accurate, wondering about their competitive position relative to Sprint, which claims over 100m people (not households) will be offered their “4G” mobile WiMax service by the end of 2008. Co-CEO Ben Wolf said, “Spectrum footprint dramatically larger than what you referenced earlier,” meaning bigger than 90m people. (This comparison is tricky, because Sprint has discussed deployment footprint, not license holdings.)
On page 3 and 55 of the S1 filing, the company notes that they now own 11.5b MHz-POPs in the U.S. (2.5 GHz band) covering 205m people, and 5.1b MHz-POPs in Europe, covering 117m people. This excludes the recent German auction which adds coverage of 82.5m people, as the licenses were both large (21 MHz each for uplink and downlink) and national. (MHz-POPs are megahertz times population—spectrum bands in megahertz multiplied by local population.) They still have to complete deals that represent a portion of these holdings, they note.
The company also reveals some of their technical decisions on deployment on pages 55-56. They require at least six channels of 5 MHz each to launch service in an area. But they predict that mobile WiMax will provide ever increasing spectral efficiency—both as an evolution in the standard and over their current, proprietary, NextNet technology—resulting in launches that might involve fewer licenses. But they also note that “we could find that new technologies and subscriber usage patterns require us to have more spectrum available in our markets.”
Clearwire currently has deployed service to areas that comprise about 8.5m people in the U.S. and 1m in Europe. But they claim just 188,000 subscribers so far. [link via GigaOm]
Martin Sauter notes that the German broadband wireless access auction is already over: It ran a short course and resulted in €56m for the government’s coffers from the three nationwide winners. Clearwire gets to extend its global hegemony to yet another nation. Inquam is partly owned by NextWave. DBD is a German firm. The auction offered 21 MHz for uplink and another 21 MHz for downlink, which is a lot of spectrum to play with on a national basis for broadband wireless. And competition could be fierce. Some regional licenses were also awarded to increase the pressure, and four existing UMTS (cellular) operator will get squeezed, too.
Aperto announces telecom provide BSNL launches WiMax network: Aperto’s PacketMax gear will be up and running by January in six cities and four rural districts in India. Cost of service isn’t mentioned. The announcement doesn’t make it entirely clear whether the certified part is just for bragging rights, or whether this will be the largest such network in the country when deployed.
The German regulatory agency for spectrum launches its 3.4-3.6 GHz broadband wireless auction on Dec. 12: The auction will cover broadband wireless that could include Internet access. Four sets of frequencies in 28 regions are up for bid with 21 MHz paired uplink/downlinks in each set.
Martin Sauter has the full details on his blog.
It’s the whole kitchen sink: In Hong Kong, Intel’s point man on wireless demonstrated a MIMO (multiple-in, multiple-out) antenna based chipset with support for mobile WiMax (802.16-2005), Wi-Fi (the Draft N flavor that’s still in development), and HSDPA, the GSM version of 3G cell data. This was demonstrated as part of a laptop system.
Alvarion has added WiMax base stations that include Wi-Fi: The BreezeMax WI2 and BreezeAccess WI2 are certainly the leading ends of a trend to make fixed WiMax (licensed bands) and pre-WiMax (5 GHz band) a complement to Wi-Fi. This sort of platform will make a lot of sense in feeding hotspots in outdoor urban settings and in installations in which wire just isn’t available or affordable. Alvarion claims a reach of over 19 miles.
Nortel scores two wins: The company will work with the government of Japan to test mobile WiMax systems in the northern Tohoku region. The area has limited broadband access.
Nortel will also be building out mobile WiMax in Yilan, a northeast county of Taiwan, working with Chunghwa Telecom.