Asian Wimax players to go down swinging

Tony Brown/Informa Telecoms and Media
11 Jun 2012

Guilty secret: My all-time favorite movie is Rocky IV. I watched it last week with my two sons, aged five and seven, and had to discreetly shield my tears as Rocky made his stirring, against-the-odds comeback against Ivan Drago to score a heroic last-round knockout.

Maybe it is that love of the underdog that makes me such an admirer of Asia’s Wimax operators, who, despite knowing that their technology will ultimately be overwhelmed by LTE, battle on regardless against their bigger and stronger opponent.

Of course, there will be no Rocky Balboa-style comeback for Asia’s Wimax operators. Everyone knows that LTE will ultimately triumph, but that does not mean that these operators should just lie down and die. They have plenty of options before they have to bow to the inevitable adoption of LTE.

This spirit of defiance was very much to the fore at the one-day Wimax Asia conference in Taiwan on June 6, where senior executives from the likes of Japan’s UQ Communications and Malaysia’s YTL Communications and local players Global Mobile and Vee Telecom promised delegates that there was plenty of life left in them yet.

TD-LTE not ready yet

The most combative of the speakers was by far Ali Tabassi, the CTO of YTL Communications, who told delegates that although plenty of hype had surrounded the defection of several Wimax operators to TD-LTE (including fellow Malaysian operator P1 Networks), it did not match the reality.

“They are really just ‘putting lipstick on their pig’ by announcing they will move to TD-LTE,” he said. “It is just a means to raise money from their investors.

“None of the people that have announced for TD-LTE are actually anywhere near launching commercial services of any significant scale, because the ecosystem is not ready yet and won’t be for a couple of years at least.

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