Airspan strikes back

27 Mar 2008

Well, surely you all saw this coming a kilometer away - Airspan has officially commented on The Buzz Broadband Incident.

As you may recall, Garth Freeman, chief executive of Australia's Buzz Broadband, spoke at Wimax World Asia last week and denounced Wimax as overhyped, with poor range and worse latency, and that he had scrapped Wimax completely for other technologies.

As I mentioned before, Freeman left delegates wondering if the problem was actually with Wimax, or the supplier (Airspan), the location, the service package or some combination thereof.

Airspan has offered its own explanation - the problem, it says, was Buzz Broadband.

In a statement, an Airspan spokesperson said that Buzz's problems were related to cost-cutting issues. Specifically, the operator intentionally used microcell base stations instead of macro BTSs to save money, and then connected them to an underprovisioned core network.

Well, no wonder Buzz had coverage and VoIP quality issues.

It gets better. Airspan Australia's managing director, Grant Stepa, told that Buzz ignored offers of independent analysis from telecoms 'industry veterans' to help fix the problems.

There may be more to the story than this, but one thing I think we can safely conclude is that the Buzz Broadband experience, whoever's fault it really was, isn't typical of other Wimax deployments (otherwise we'd have heard more stories like this by now). Technology disasters are inevitable with any new technology. It's the business model, marketing and pricing that will determine Wimax's future.

As for Airspan's relationship with Buzz "&brkbar; "We're not talking to themanymore," says Stepa.

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