Clearwire: We’re Gonna Be Big  

Clearwire on Thursday outlined a long-term view of growth for their new WiMAX venture with Sprint, forecasting revenue of over $17.5 billion by 2017.

In a slide presentation to investors, Clearwire said it expected the venture have some 30 million subscribers and cover as many as 220 million people by 2017.

In the nearer term, Clearwire expects to offer coverage to 60 to 80 million people by the end of next year, 100 million U.S. citizens by the end of 2010, and 200 million potential users by 2015.

Clearwire projected average revenue per user at $60 to $65, with free cash flow of $3.8 billion in that time frame. Free cash flow refers to earnings, excluding amortization and depreciation, but including capital expenditures.

CEO Ben Wolff said the company will only need $2 billion to $2.3 billion of additional capital — on top of the $3.2 billion invested by Google, Intel and its cable friends — to complete its planned mobile WiMax network. “Once we close this [Sprint] deal, Clearwire’s average spectrum position will be over 120MHz per market,” said Wolff. Previously the company has been offering services in 30MHz to 33MHz of spectrum per market.

The venture deal is expected to close at the end of 2008. Sprint, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks “have already committed to enter into non-exclusive wholesale agreements with New Clearwire.” Under the arrangement, the companies will become mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) that can resell Clearwire services under their own brands.

By 2014 Clearwire forecasts nearly 20 million Mobile WiMAX customers in a territory covering about 200 million U.S. citizens. ABI Research forecasts that by 2013 there will be some 32 million LTE subscribers world-wide, with the United States getting around one quarter of that total, or about 8 million.

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WiMAX Open Patent Alliance  

Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent, Intel, Samsung, Sprint, and Clearwire, plan Monday to announce (webcast) the creation of an organization called the Open Patent Alliance, says C/Net.

OPA will form a WiMAX patent pool to help participating companies obtain access to patent licenses from patent owners at a predictable cost. It’s an effort to prevent costly royalty rates that might deter adoption of the wireless technology.

The Open Patent Alliance will issue a call for WiMAX essential patents for inclusion in its patent pool. An independent third-party reviewer will serve as the “patent referee” and will evaluate submitted patents to determine how essential they are to the WiMAX standard and WiMAX Forum profiles. While the OPA initially will focus its efforts on the WiMAX standard, it may work with other industry groups in the future.

Last year Cisco bought Navini which had developed a beamformed MIMO and smart beamforming approach to Mobile WiMAX.

“We haven’t seen a broad proliferation of cellular technology in anything other than handsets because the model is closely held and restrictive,” said Sriram Viswanathan, general manager for WiMax at Intel Capital. The companies hope to make to bring mobile WiMax to MP3 music players, gaming devices, smartphones, and a plethora of other consumer electronics devices.

However, several well-known WiMAX providers are not on the list, notably Motorola, Qualcomm and Alvarion. Motorola officials have not yet said whether they plan to join the new alliance.

Regardless of the number of vendors who join a patent alliance, “it only takes one patent holder to cause problems for the rest,” said industry analyst Craig Mathias . In any technology with numerous players and patents held by various companies, “there will always be the question of whether somebody is stepping on somebody’s intellectual property,” he said.

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3.65GHz WiMAX Rolls Out  

Webformix announced the launch of several WiMAX transmitters throughout Central Oregon this week. Webformix says they are the first to launch 3.65GHz WiMAX service on the West Coast.

“WiMAX not only allows us to offer a huge increase in speed and range over traditional WiFi technology, but also meets security requirements for HIPAA and military applications,” said Eric Ozrelic, CEO of Webformix. Both businesses and residents can use the service, starting at $40 per month.

The Bend Bulletin reviews area competitors including cable ISP BendBroadband, Qwest DSL and cellular data services and Clearwire. Others include Bend-based I Love My WiFi a WiFi-based service started in 2006 and Community Broadband, based in Redmond.

The 3.65 GHz service will offer competitive rates with BendBroadband and Qwest, says the company.

Webformix WiMAX service is available in Bend now and will be available throughout Central Oregon, including homes and businesses in Bend, Redmond, Prineville, Powell Butte, Madras and Crooked River Ranch, across approximately 2,500 square miles, by July 1st, says the company.

Metro WISP Towerstream has completed a trial using Alvarion 3.65 GHz WiMAX gear, and is planning a major market rollout reports Telephony Magazine.

Towerstream’s wireless backhaul services in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami and Dallas have all used pre-WiMAX equipment from Aperto Networks and Alvarion, most in the 5.8 GHz unlicensed frequencies. Towerstream plans to use Alvarion 3.65 GHz gear going forward in all new deployments.

Towerstream won’t retire any of its current equipment, but the ISP will now use WiMAX gear on its T-1 replacement services. For larger companies, Towerstream will continue to use dedicated point-to-point links supplied by DragonWave and Ceragon Networks.

Towerstream’s new 3.65 GHz gear, like others using the 3.65 GHz band, requires all operators to register their equipment in the markets they deploy in. While competitors may use the same spectrum, they must to do it in coordination with one another, creating an unlicensed band with some protections to its users.

Rapid Link is also offering voice and data via 3.65 GHz WiMax service in the Atlanta Metropolitan area to the public.

Matt Liotta, Chief Technology Officer of Rapid Link, states, “We are clearly ahead of the competition and the technology power curve with this offering. Rapid Link is proud to be a licensed WiMax carrier offering this breakthrough service to our foundation of customers in the greater Atlanta area.”

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Zhone: Line-driven “N” MuniFi  

Zhone Technologies today introduced SkyZhone, a “802.11n” network platform for the metro Wi-Fi space. SkyZhone is designed to serve both licensed public-safety (4.9 GHz) and unlicensed (2.4 GHz) bands.

Zhone’s unique features include;

  • Draft 802.11n with an all-MIMO antenna architecture
  • Integrated DSL backhaul and line powering.
  • Increased capacity and reliability for municipal and commercial Wi-Fi networks.

Telcos may find SkyZhone’s built-in DSL backhaul and integrated line powering an attractive alternative. Instead of nodes inter-connecting through a mesh network, SkyZhone features a star configuration. Telcos can run multiple DSL lines directly to SkyZhone nodes. Each SkyZhone uses at least 2 phone lines and up to 4 phone lines.

The biggest advantage of the SkyZhone solution is probably the amount of backhaul available. Each Access Point has its own backhaul to the wired network. Typically 10 Mbps of backhaul is available.

Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexers (DSLAM), in many neighborhoods, connect DSLs to the Central Office. DSLAMs can power and supply SkyZhones with more bandwidth than other alternatives. With the added range of MIMO and “N”, Zhone claims fewer nodes will be required for large scale WiFi networks. They use Broadcom chips in the design.

Zhone also has a complete line of DSLAMs enabling the deployment of services to a range of locations.

Zhone says, mid-Michigan’s largest independent Phone and Internet Provider, is using SkyZhone in Lansing and Springfield, Michigan. In Lansing, has deployed a public safety 4.9GHz network with a consumer Wi-Fi network for video, voice and data in the 2.4GHz band. In neighboring Springfield, is utilizing the system to deliver Internet access at subsidized rates for residents in a 6 square mile portion of the city.

Zhone says their “N” basestation “listens” better, extending the effective range. But without 802.11n on both sides, the effect is likely to be minimal. Still, for nodes that need high capacity, such as serving video, the SkyZhone approach may be an answer.

Other approaches using MIMO include Wavion, a Metro and Rural Wi-Fi vendor promoting beamforming, which recently announced the release of a new SW version supporting self-backhaul.

Wavion’s spatially adaptive base stations have been extended to provide self-backhaul to neighboring base stations using their beamforming technology that leverages six radios and antennas.

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Motorola: LTE for 700 & 2.6 GHz  

Motorola today said its Long-Term Evolution (LTE) solutions next year will include 700MHz and 2.6GHz products.

Timing is critical for LTE announcements. Next week is the big Telecom show, Nxtcomm. NXTcomm has replaced SUPERCOMM as the one telecom-centric event for network-enabled voice, video, and data.

Operators are loath to install 700 MHz 3G basestations, just to pull them out two years later for 4G, so a solution for the new 700MHz and 2.6 GHz bands would be attractive.

Just as soon as there’s a LTE standard, of course.

Mobile operators are battling Mobile WiMAX which is widely perceived to have a 2-3 lead over LTE. Motorola also announced that its LTE solution will support the future LTE Time Division Duplex (TDD) variant for operators with TDD spectrum holding. “Leveraging our WiMAX TDD infrastructure, we have designed a common LTE platform that is capable of both LTE Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and TDD, offering global operators the simplicity and economies of scale across markets,” said Darren McQueen, Motorola vice president, Wireless Broadband Access Technologies.

“We believe deploying LTE in the 700 MHz band is mandatory to meet the needs of wireless carriers in the U.S. market as well as a number of other countries globally,” said Darren McQueen, Motorola vice president, Wireless Broadband Access Technologies. “In addition, there is a clear demand for LTE in 2.6GHz spectrum band to meet the needs of GSM carriers that have already secured the spectrum in the global market.”

Motorola says it is engaged in LTE trials with operators in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. The knowledge gained from these LTE trials, coupled with Motorola’s expertise in OFDM, deploying and managing WiMAX networks for Sprint and Clearwire, will contribute to the development of their LTE portfolio, says the company.

Motorola’s LTE base station has a common controller unit that can be shared between WiMAX 802.16e and LTE, plus a variety of radio head solutions to meet specific customer requirements.

The portfolio includes frame based-mounted radios, remote radio heads and tower top radios to support a wide variety of LTE deployment scenarios across newly available spectrum as well as existing GSM, UMTS and CDMA spectrum. Motorola’s flexible eNode B architecture allows many spectrum bands to be supported with limited development investment.

Wavesat, a semiconductor company, in May introduced a family of multimodal chipsets that combine WiMAX, Wi-Fi and migration to LTE. Motorola is working on the same thing. But 4G Is Just One Piece of the Mobile Broadband IP Puzzle. Getting the backend components to interoperate is the tricky bit.

DesignArt Networks launched today a WiMax silicon platform aimed at combating 4G backhaul costs and announced plans for a similar LTE product. Their new System-on-Chip (SoC) platform integrates base station and backhaul capabilities, using spectrum normally dedicated for the last mile for backhaul.

The real battle between WiMAX and LTE will be at 2.6 GHz, which European governments as well as the International Telecommunication Union have identified as broadband wireless bands. Sweden has already auctioned off its 2.6 GHz spectrum, and the UK, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands are planning auctions this year, though there may be delays.

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Sprint: We’re the “3rd Pipe”  

Sprint Nextel and Clearwire filed a petition with the FCC this week saying it would provide high-speed Internet access that rivaled wired-line broadband when it merged. It also said:

  • The new merged company, Clearwire Corp. would reach 140 million people within 30 months.
  • Clearwire Corp. would provide high-speed access capable of 2-way video conferencing to police, firefighters and schools.
  • Their service would be an alternative broadband platform, or ‘third pipe.”
  • The service would be open and customers would have a choice and plans and they wouldn’t have to buy equipment from the merged company.
  • They could only provide the whole nation with combined forces.
  • They said companies like Verizon and AT&T are “likely loathe to deploy wireless broadband in a manner that would cannibalize their landline business.”

iPCS, a Sprint Nextel affiliate operating in Schaumburg, Illinois, has filed a lawsuit to block the joint venture. The wireless provider, with 640,600 subscribers in seven states, alleges the new Clearwire service would compete with in its markets and therefore violates an exclusivity agreement signed with Sprint in 1999.

Data’s impact on Verizon Wireless’ bottom line could approach US$10 billion this year, said Doreen Tobin, CFO of Verizon Communications at a Lehman Brothers Wireless Conference last month. “Today data revenues represent 23 percent of our service revenues (and) wireless data revenues grew 65 percent in 2007,” Tobin said.

Verizon spent $9.36 Billion on 700 mhz C Block “open access” spectrum covering most of the lower 48 and reportedly spent over $45 billion on EV-DO over the last eight years. Everything must go with LTE. “We increased our spectrum inventory by about 60 percent. Across the top 100 markets we will have a total average spectrum depth of about 85 MHz,” said Tobin.

Sprint has 90MHz of 2.5GHz spectrum, covering 80 markets which it picked up for a song. Clearwire’s CEO Ben Wolff says it will reach 120 million to 140 million people by the end of 2010, before LTE even gets started.

With the new Sprint/Clearwire/Cable venture, Clearwire will have 120Mhz to play with in major markets, compared to the 12Mhz available on 700 Mhz owned by AT&T and Verizon.

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Battle for Britain  

The always cogent Caroline Gabriel says the UK’s upcoming auction of 2.6GHz mobile broadband spectrum is intensely anticipated, partly because it is the first major European market to make the move. But also because it represents the best chance for a WiMAX operator to gain a national license in a leading EU economy.

The UK 3G operators have no particular desire to see an early auction. If BT (or another bidder from outside their ranks) does win spectrum, they will have to face yet another competitor. And they do not have an urgent need for 2.6GHz themselves–most are just rolling out HSPA and the 3G networks are not at capacity.

Since the five cellcos will almost certainly use LTE if they get 2.6GHz licenses, they will not be able to start build-out for at least another 18 months.

For WiMAX vendors, a delay in this flagship auction would be a major blow. To get any inroads into mature mobile markets, WiMAX needs to exploit its headstart over LTE, especially since the two technologies are very similar in what they actually deliver.

Upcoming 2.5 GHz Spectrum Auctions (2008)
Date Frequency Country Regulator
Q1 2008 2.5 ~ 2.69 GHz UK OFCOM
Q2 2008 2.5 ~ 2.69 GHz Austria RTR
Q2 2008 2.5 ~ 2.69 GHz Sweden PTS
Q2 2008 2.5 ~ 2.69 GHz Ukraine NKRZ
Q2 2008 3.4 ~ 3.69 GHz Chile SUBTEL
Q3 2008 3.4 ~ 3.69 GHz Brazil Anatel
Q4 2008 2.3 ~ 2.39 GHz Hong Kong OFTA
2009 - 2010 2.5 ~ 2.69 GHz Hong Kong OFTA

The incumbent telco, British Telecom, has no mobile arm, which makes it likely to bid for a license. If it does and it wins, BT is likely to adopt WiMAX rather than LTE to take advantage of the headstart WiMAX would provide.

The advantage is pointless if potential customers cannot get their hands on suitable spectrum. If the operators have to wait for a year or more for auctions, the playing field with LTE will have levelled, even for non-3G carriers.

British regulatory body Office of Communications (Ofcom) is due to open up spectrum in the 2.5GHz later this year.

It will be the UK’s single-largest release of radio spectrum to date, suitable for a range of new services such as mobile broadband and advanced wireless services delivered using WiMAX and 3G technology.

Ofcom will release the spectrum in the 2010-2025 MHz and 2500-2690 MHz bands on a technology and service neutral basis. In total, 205 MHz will be available and Ofcom expects to start the auction process in the summer.

Meanwhile, Clearwire this week praised the European Commission’s decision of May 21, 2008, aimed at harmonizing the availability and efficient use of 3400 ~ 3800 MHz frequencies in Europe. The EC will require Member States to quickly move to allow mobility in these frequency bands.

“The Decision is meaningful for Clearwire’s European operations, where we widely utilize 3.5GHz spectrum,” said Benjamin G. Wolff, chief executive officer of Clearwire. “With extensive holdings in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Romania, and Spain, and our affiliate’s holdings in Denmark, our licenses cover more than 200 million people throughout Europe”.

“Clearwire fully supports the Commission’s view that as mobile wireless broadband services become the primary service used with this spectrum, further harmonization will favor pan-European roaming amongst these frequencies.”

WiMax hopefuls in the U.K. may find themselves shut out of the 2.6 GHz auction by the Office of Communications, says Unstrung. Five mobile operators are potentially bidding to hoard WiMax spectrum. Ofcom will auction 2010-2025 MHz and 2500-2690 MHz bands (known as 2.6 GHz) on a technology and service neutral basis.

Ofcom has allocated a certain amount of licensed spectrum for time division duplex (TDD), or unpaired spectrum, and a certain amount FDD, or paired spectrum. Analysts and WiMax players expect the U.K.’s mobile operators to buy up the TDD spectrum to keep out new Mobile WiMax competitors.

Meanwhile, in the UK, businesses using British Telcom’s Business service can now turn their BT Business Hub into a BT Openzone wireless hotspot at no cost. This will allow anyone visiting their premises to log on to a separate secure internet channel. When a new version of the BT business hub comes out in July, it will come with the hotspot feature built in.

There are already 2,500 BT Openzone Premier hotspots at hotels, airports, railroad stations and other sites, plus hotspots covering the centers of 12 cities in the UK. There are also some 70,000 BT consumers have joined the BT FON Wi-Fi community, BT said.

The 2.5 GHz spectrum profile is considered to be the “sweet spot” for many of the world’s initial deployments for mobile WiMAX, including Japan, Taiwan, and the United States.

The 2006 AWS auction in the United States was billed as broadband spectrum for all Americans, but essentially was crafted for San Antonio-based SBC which needed “3G” spectrum. The company later acquired AT&T Wireless, then AT&T Wireless, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile bought billions worth of AWS spectrum (1.7/2.1 GHz) which will likely be used for LTE in the United States.

Juniper Research predicts 24 million LTE (Long Term Evolution) subs by 2012.

Senza Fili Consulting expects only 54 Million WiMAX Subscribers by 2012 while the WiMAX Forum projects more than 133 million WiMAX users globally by 2012.

ComputerWorld compares WiMAX with LTE, but overlooks a couple of key points. First, the bandwidth available on 700 MHz (12 Mhz) is limited and the 100Mbps figure does not apply. Clearwire and Sprint have some ten times that bandwidth at 2.5 GHz. Secondly, ComputerWorld indicates WiMAX is two years away with LTE 3-4 years away from mass deployment. It will take a long time to deploy LTE networks nationwide, and Mobile WiMax is commonly believed to have a 2-4 year advantage. The figures supplied by Gartner analyst Phillip Redman and quoted by ComputerWorld are debatable.

Verizon spent over $45 billion on EV-DO over the last eight years. Everything must go with LTE.

Sprint has 90MHz of 2.5GHz spectrum, covering 80 markets which it picked up for a song. Clearwire’s CEO Ben Wolff says it will reach 120 million to 140 million people by the end of 2010, before LTE even gets started. An LTE upgrade ($100K), on 50,000 AT&T towers will be a lot more expensive then WiMAX — it might cost upwards of $50B. Even if you had a “standard” and spectrum and handsets and backhaul. WiMAX will come “free” with most laptops.

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WiMax: East Meets West  

WiMAX has been deployed in more than 80 countries worldwide and commercial networks will continue to grow in number and size in 2008, reports Infonetics. Some 2.2 million WiMAX subscribers (fixed and mobile) in 2007 were led by the Asia Pacific region using fixed WiMAX.

Broadband internet connectivity is growing in Asia, but more than 96 per cent of the region’s population (almost 3.7 billion people) does not yet have access to broadband. The Asia-Pacific region could have as many as 43 million WiMax subscribers by the end of 2013, according to new forecasts by Frost and Sullivan.

Of the 17 Asian countries in the study that were ranked for regulatory support and operator willingness to deploy the technology, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India topped the list.

But China and Indonesia have made very little progress in licensing WiMax,” notes industry analyst Marc Einstein, adding that China alone has the power to make or break WiMax service in the region if its government continues to delay WiMax roll-out as it did with 3G.

Given a favorable government stance, China is forecast to account for as much as 45 percent (or 19.35 million) of the total WiMax subscribers in the region by 2013. The 2.3-GHz and 2.5-GHz bands are ideal mobile WiMAX spectrums, but China’s Ministry of Information Industry (MII) allocated those for 3G-TDD technology and cable transmission, respectively.

India’s BSNL and Japan’s KDDI continue to pursue aggressive WiMAX deployments, says the study.

India’s BSNL plans to launch a $750 million WiMax network to cover one sixth of India’s 1 billion-plus population, and has already issued the first tender for WiMax equipment. WiChorus says its gear can help offer Internet connectivity without the phone lines for as little as $15 a month.

India’s Ministry of Telecommunications is preparing to roll out 3G guidelines after years of delay. Wireless operators such as AT&T and Etihad Etisalat are expected to enter India’s 3G market.

Japan’s Wireless Broadband Planning, KDDI’s WiMax joint venture, was awarded a national WiMax license at 2.5 GHz at the end of 2007. The venture has committed to spending 145 billion Japanese yen ($1.3 billion) through March 2014. The other license winner in Japan is personal handyphone system (PHS) operator Willcom, which plans to invest $1.7 billion over six years on a next-generation PHS network at 2.5 GHz.

UQ Communication is a consortium consisting of 6 companies such as Kyocera and Intel Capital, led by KDDI. A trial in Tokyo and Yokohama from February of 2009 will be followed by nation-wide commercial Mobile WiMAX service in the summer of 2009.

KT has aggressively pushed WiBro service in South Korea, attracting some 150,000 subscribers. However, the Korean government allowed only data service through WiBro - not voice - limiting the potential market. KT hopes to have 400,000 WiMax subscribers by the end of this year. Cellular provider SK Telecom also has WiBro licenses but has been less enthusiastic since it is also a cellular carrier.

Five of Taiwan’s licensed WiMAX operatorsGlobal Mobile, First International Telecom (Fitel), Vmax Telecom, Tatung Telecom and Far EasTone Telecommunications (FET) are rolling out WiMAX services in Taiwan. Global Mobile, Vmax and FITEL won licenses for northern Taiwan, while Far EasTone, Tatung and Vastar Cable TV System won licenses for the south. FITEL expects to have 52 Mobile WiMAX base stations operating in Taipei City by the beginning of June. The Fitel deployment is part of the massive M-Taiwan project to unwire the country.

Enforta today announced that it will expand its operating footprint in Russia by another 22 cities during June, increasing the total service territory to 55 cities. Enforta has the largest market share amongst Russia’s wireless broadband operators at 20-22% of the total market.

The new cities include Kemerovo, Bratsk, Angarsk, Biysk, Rubtsovsk, Prokopyevsk, Tolyatti, Novokuybyshevsk, Saratov, Dimitrovgrad, Ujno-Sakhalinsk, Astrakhan, Krasnodar, Taganrog, Shakhty, Novocherkassk, Novomoskovsk, Novotroitsk, Rybinsk, Magnitogorsk, Orsk, and Kamensk Uralskiy. They also announced that it is on schedule to launch another 10 cities in the fourth quarter of 2008.

“By month’s end, Enforta’s footprint will include cities with an aggregate population exceeding 55 million,” said Victor Ratnikov, General Director.

Enforta was formed in October 2003 with the objective to provide broadband services using WiMAX and other advanced technologies in Russia’s regional capitals. The Company is owned by Baring Vostok Capital Partners, Sumitomo Corporation, Bessemer Venture Partners, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. In December of 2003 Enforta acquired ZAO Prestige-Internet and in 2005 they acquired OOO Evgenia. Later in 2005 the company launched its first wireless broadband services.

Other WiMax networks are being launched in various regions in Russia by Synterra, Start-Telecom, Comstar-UTS, and Media-Net. Summa Telecom Company, announced the launch of its own network,having been granted a large frequency resource across Russia. The first cities to be launched in are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Samara, Novosibirsk, and Vladivostok. Summa Telecom is owned by Russian businessman Ziyavudinu Magomedov, whose principal businesses include oil transport logistics and metals.

Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) is the largest mobile operator in Russia and CIS with over 89.64 million subscribers. Vimpelcom, Russia’s 2nd largest cell operator, is owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s Alfa Group and Norway’s Telenor which have been locked in a court battle over expansion overseas, something Russian shareholders contend was blocked by Telenor.

The Russian State Commission of Radio Frequencies (GKRCh) plans to transfer 2300 ~ 2400 MHz (2.3 GHz) from the military to public WiMAX.

Intel chairman Craig Barrett is in Russia this week to support Intel’s work with Comstar-UTS to launch a WiMAX network. At a press conference in Novosibirsk, Barrett said the network will be launched “in Moscow at the end of this year.” Barrett said he hopes to discuss the issue of frequency allocation with Russian government leaders at the International Economic Forum in St Petersburg this week. “If we can move on the liberalisation of frequencies for WiMAX, it will be very cool,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Switzerland-based telecom holding company Trivon Group launched a WiMAX network under the Virgin Connect brand (pdf) in Russia. The company will offer broadband access, VoIP and value-added services to corporate and residential customers in 32 Russian regions including Moscow, St Petersburg and all major Russian cities with population over 1m.

The United Arab Emirates is the most connected country in the Arab World, according to a recent study. Etisalat, the UAE’s largest telecommunications operator, is teaming with iPass to provide hundreds of Wi-Fi hotspot locations within the UAE. Hotspot locations include Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Khorfakkan, four international airports, major hotels and coffee shops across the country. Etisalat is a GSM provider. A second GSM operator in UAE, “du”, is testing WiMAX with Motorola. Both du and Etisalat have received licenses for 3.5 GHz spectrum.

Intel Capital is one of the winners in Sweden’s 4G auction, which concluded in May. Intel will pay about US$26.4 million for 50MHz of TDD spectrum in the 2.6GHz band. The rest of the winners, HI3G Access AB, Tele2, Telenor and TeliaSonera, currently offer mobile broadband services using HSPA and may use their new frequencies for LTE. A Mobile WiMAX pilot network in Finland has hosted by Savonlinna Telephone Company (SPY). SPY currently offers fixed WiMAX broadband services in both rural and urban areas.

Together with Asia, Latin America has proved to be one of the growth areas for WIMAX. Ertach in Argentina was one of the early adopters of WiMAX technology with the network primarily designed for corporate customers and public service agencies. Its fixed WiMAX services had commenced in 2004. It is now implementing Mobile WiMAX with Alvarion technology.

In Brazil, Embratel, has completed the first phase of the WiMAX rollout by covering the 12 state capitals with Fixed WiMAX. In Peru, EMAX S.A. is using Navini gear in the 2.5-2.7 GHz band. Additional licenses in the 2.5-2.7 GHz band are being auctioned in Peru.

In Chile, Telmex (which also owns Embratel Brazil) has been operating a Fixed WiMAX network and recently upgraded to cover most of the country. A mobile WiMAX network being built by VTR (a cable TV and internet operator) is now nearing completion. 700 MHz spectrum is also planned to be auctioned in Chile by its telecom regulator, Subtel. In Bolivia, Entel is building a Mobile WiMAX ( IEEE802.16e-2005) band based on technology provided by Alcatel Lucent.

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3G iPhone Day  

Hey kids! Get ready to jump around like blithering technophile idiots once again, says Dan Jones of Unstrung. The 3G iPhone, coming July 11, is expected to be the main attraction at Apple’s developers’ conference at 9am (PDT) Monday. You can watch it live on Engadget and Gizmodo which have live coverage as well as Apple’s streaming video site.

Apple’s new iPhone, with built-in HSPA and GPS, is expected to be accompanied by support for corporate e-mail and a slate of new programs that could help boost sales past 10 million by the end of this year.

The price is expected to be $199, down from the current $399 and $499, with AT&T kicking in a couple hundred dollars to make the devices more affordable.

So far, Apple has sold just over 5 million phones. That pales in comparison with competitors. Windows Mobile, which provides software for phones from HTC, Samsung, Palm and others, says it will sell 20 million phones this year.

About 1 billion cellphones are sold every year. No. 1 manufacturer Nokia, for instance, sells more cellphones in a week than Apple has shipped to date, notes USA Today. According to researcher Gartner, Nokia sold 435 million cellphones in 2007. The “real verdict” on the iPhone’s success hasn’t been reached, say some observers. “The numbers are too small to call a home run.”

With a data plan, consumers pay an additional monthly charge — usually $15 to $25 — for access to the Internet on their phones, adding greatly to the carrier’s bottom line.

Jobs says location services is going to be a really big deal on the 3G iPhone. “We get location from celltowers, from WiFi, and now we get it from GPS.” So that’s A-GPS. “We can actually do tracking.”

“The big news, I’m happy to tell you, the 8GB will sell for $199. We think the iPhone 3G will be affordable to almost everyone. 16GB model for $299 — for that model we have a white one.”

Consumers will now pay $30 a month for unlimited data service from AT&T, compared to $20/month last year. Voice service starts at $40 a month. Business users will pay $45 per month for data, in addition to a voice plan. The $199 iPhone requires a two year contract. So the 3G iPhone will cost a minimum of $70/month in addition to the $199 sticker from AT&T - fairly typical smartphone pricing.

AT&T Video Share could be a featured attraction. Video Share allows users to share live video over wireless phones while on a voice call. The application is enabled with AT&T’s HSUPA upgrade for faster upstream speeds. [NOTE: A commenter may be right about this service not being a big deal for the new iPhone]

Sling Media, makers of the Slingbox place-shifting TV device, is also building a version of its SlingPlayer software for the iPhone and iPod touch for remote video access and streaming.

Jobs is also expected to demonstrate some third-party iPhone applications, says Technology Review, which could include games that use the phone’s accelerometer as a control, new mapping software, and quick ways to update profiles on social networks such as Facebook or MySpace.

Platial’s iPhone application could map out 150 million pieces of user-supplied location-based data while Pelago will offer a version of its software, called Whrrl. The software enables “social discovery”. Whrrl proposes new places to explore or activities to try, using the iPhone’s map and self-location features, as well as information about the prior activities of the user’s friends.

Vollee, a 3G streaming services provider, began offering a free, open beta version of Second Life for cell phones. It’s available for 40 Wi-Fi-enabled and 3G cell phones with more handset compatibility coming soon. Including the iPhone.

Apple’s App Store is the only way to get official third-party iPhone applications onto your device. Developers have been submitting their applications to Apple for testing and verification since the iPhone SDK became available, this March.

Data from M:Metrics indicates that iPhone users are data junkies. iPhone users spent just 46.5% of their time on the device making calls, compared to 71.7% for the typical cell phone user.

Could the iTouch be enhanced with a WiMAX chip from Sequans? Well, yes it could. Don’t plan on it today, though.

Maybe that’s what Samsung’s Omnia is all about. It features WiFi, 7.2Mbps HSDPA, GPS, microSD, FM radio, a wide screen for videos, a 5 megapixel camera and runs Windows Mobile. It will be unveiled at the CommunicAsia trade fair in Singapore starting June 17.

But will it enable Android apps?

Our motto is “Think Different.” Not “Stand in line like a bunch of friggin sheep.” Comprende? You know what? I hate each and every one of you. There. I said it. I’ve wanted to say that for years and now I have. You smug pricks, you phony hippies, thinking you’re all so cool and smart and hip because you’re sitting there at an Apple event when really you’re just a bunch of poser frigtards…”

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Computex 2008: Netbooks & WiMAX  

At Computex in Taipei, Intel rolled out two new versions of its Atom processor aimed at powering a new generation of low cost computers. It will also roll out high-end chip sets for more traditional desktops, targeting high definition video. Intel’s Sean Maloney kicked off the keynote with an Intel-centric view of the world. PC World has indepth coverage of Computex 2008.

The new Atom parts include the N270 for so-called netbooks and the N230 for what Intel calls net-tops. The chips run at up to 1.6 GHz, provide 512 Mbytes cache and a 533 MHz front-side bus. They have average power consumption as low as 2.5 W.

The portable netbooks should sell for about $250-300, reports EE Times, while some net-tops may cost as little as $200, said Erik Reid, director of mobile platforms at Intel. The new price points could drive as many as 100 million new users to the Web by 2011, the company forecasts.

The main focus at Computex was on the Netbook. The $299 EeePC, running Linux on a 7″ screen, became a sales phenomena. Since its launch in October 2007, the Eee PC series has sold more than 1 million units, at between $399 and $549 each.

It has spurred a variety of small, inexpensive Netbooks. Most now run on an Intel Atom processor at 1.6 MHz, feature XP or Linux, real hard drive space and wireless options like WiMax. Intel estimates a netbook using the Atom N270 processor running at 1.6GHz, a 7-inch to 10-inch screen, 512MBs of RAM, and 2GBs to 4GBs of flash storage should cost around $250.

Intel was also demoing Centrino 2 (Montevina) gear at Computex, using the Asus M51VA WiMAX client.

Intel’s new Montevina architecture, with new graphics, memory and communications components, has been delayed a month until July 14th.

Intel expects that a WiFi/WiMAX option will be essentially “free” when tied to its Centrino and Atom processors, stimulating sales of both Netbooks and full-size Notebooks.

Nvidia unveiled their laptop GPUs, called the GeForce 9M Series, expected to compete with Intel. The new chips are said to offer many of the same benefits found on Nvidia’s latest desktop offerings.

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AMD Rolls Out Mobile Platform  

AMD today formally introduced its new notebook platform, which has been referred to under the code-name of Puma. Major laptop makers including HP, Dell, Acer and Toshiba have already agreed to use it.

The Turion X2 Ultra chip (formerly code-named “Griffin”), is a CPU with two K8 cores (the same cores used in the Athlon processors) that let the chip set different power levels for each core and the integrated “north bridge” chip, power optimized HyperTransport 3; and a mobile-optimized memory controller designed for DDR-800 memory.

The heart of the platform is the new 7-series chipset with support for the ATI Mobility Radeon 3000 family of graphics and Wi-Fi support from a third-party chipset (such as Atheros, Broadcom, or Marvell).

The graphics come in several flavors. Most distinctive is the HD 3000 integrated graphics solution, which includes support for Avivo HD (for better hardware-assistend HD decode). AMD believes this will far outperform Intel’s integrated graphics. All the chips support Direct X 10.

In addition, AMD will be offering support for what it calls “ATI XGP” - essentially an external box with even more graphics that connects via special cable to the PCI Express bus. This will allow multi-monitor support, TV tuners, etc.

Intel’s share is about 85 percent, largely because of the success of its Centrino line, says the NY Times. AMD hopes the new chip will help the company maintain its 15 percent share in the laptop market.

Intel was scheduled to deliver its updated Centrino chip set, code-named Montevina, in June but last week the company revealed that the product would be delayed to July 14. Intel executives said the delay was because of technical problems associated with the chip’s graphics features as well as complications with its wireless certification.

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MXtv Makes Its Move  

Taiwanese WiMAX operator Global Mobile has tapped NextWave Wireless for a joint technology field trial using NextWave’s MXtv technology for mobile television, interactive media services and digital audio. Global Mobile is one of six operators to win WiMAX licenses in the Taiwanese market.

NextWave Wireless plans to give WiMAX operators the ability to deliver mobile TV and digital audio over their networks. Their MXtv technology is compatible with the 802.16e standard. NextWave also has a joint development agreement with Huawei to integrate MXtv into their WiMAX products.

MXtv supports up to 30 frames per second of video with up to 45 mobile TV channels in 10 MHz. The technology also allows carriers to dynamically allocate spectrum based on content availability, time of day, user demand and live events.

MXtv is based on technology the company acquired through its $100 million purchase of IPWireless last year. IPWireless sold TD-CDMA network technology as well as TDtv mobile TV technology. TDtv is based on the Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service standard, allows cellular carriers to broadcast TV content through the data channels of their existing networks.

Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei Technologies USA also plan to integrate NextWave’s MXtv technology into their WiMAX service in Taiwan. A single sector of Huawei’s WiMAX Basestation has a maximum throughput of 30 Mbps using 10 MHz.

Multimedia Broadcast Multicast lets a 3G cellular operator broadcast to thousands of users simultaneously on a single channel, similar to broadcast technolgy. MXtv is NextWave’s WiMAX iteration (using much larger channels).

Unlike MediaFLO, DVB-H, or other mobile television approaches, MXtv requires no tuner and no separate electronics. Media streaming is supported inside the WiMAX protocol.

Intel is planning to put their new Atom processor into at least two Mini-ITX boards later this year. Intel’s new D945GCLF motherboard is bundled with the 1.6Ghz Atom 230 processor, the 945GC chipset, a DDR2 slot, 2 SATA, IDE, a PCI slot, Intel GMA950 graphics, USB, Firewire, surround sound, parallel, serial, and a pair of PS2 ports — all for about $80.

Unstrung has Ten Things We Hate About Mobile Video.

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