Broadband Wireless Saves Money: CTIA  

Being able to access the Internet on-the-go is expected to generate $860 billion in additional gross domestic product in the next decade due to productivity gains, according to the report entitled “The Increasing Important Impact of Wireless Broadband Technology and Services on the U.S. Economy” (PDF), from the CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association).

According to the report, in 2005, 68.8 million US enterprise users had mobile wireless services, with 25% using a mobile wireless broadband solution. By 2016, the US is projected to have 81.9 million mobile enterprise users, with 83% using wireless broadband.

The health care sector and small businesses are the big winners of wireless broadband deployments, says the CTIA. In 2005, productivity improvements due to use of mobile broadband solutions across the U.S. health care industry were valued at almost $6.9 billion. By 2016, that number will triple to $27.2 billion.

The report also examined the annual productivity gains and cost saving for the five largest U.S. states—California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Illinois by using broadband wireless. The combined yearly cost savings for these five states alone, says the CTIA, is expected to increase from $10.1 billion in 2005 to more than $47 billion in 2016.

Cell towers now use about four T-1 lines (at 1.5 Mbps/each) for voice and data backhaul (at $200-$400/month each). A DS-3 delivers 44.736 Mbit/s (at $1500 to $3000 /month).

But WiMAX and LTE will require some 45 Mbps on each sector - perhaps 100 Mbps per tower says DragonWave (right). Three DS-3s could run $5K-$10K/month per tower and drive up the cost of broadband wireless.

Presumably, the CTIA would not be adverse to The Government subsiding their cellular-based LTE deployment, especially fiber to the tower, since data-centric Clearwire & Sprint are getting first dibs on high capacity wireless backhaul — a much cheaper alternative.

Ethernet backhaul is typically 30% – 50% lower in cost, says DragonWave. Ethernet benefits from the global high volume enterprise/LAN market, unlike cellular’s heritage SONET/TDM gear.

It will take a long time to deploy LTE networks nationwide, so Mobile WiMax has a 2-3 year advantage. LTE users must also be able to fall back to HSPA, raising the cost of both FDD CPEs and basestations. Inexpensive LTE femtocells — like the LTE spec itself — is wishful thinking.

A WiMAX/WiFi card is essentially “free”. It works indoors.

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