Malaysian Wimax operator PacketOne Networks (P1) has signed an MoU with Qualcomm at CommunicAsia2011 to collaborate on development of its upcoming TD-LTE service, in a move that further cements P1’s plans to keep its Wimax and TD-LTE services separated.
P1 chief Michael Lai said the multi-year tie-up with Qualcomm includes collaboration in development of multi-mode chipsets and devices for FDD and TDD-based LTE, as well as things like network planning and optimization “so that the devices and the network talk to each other better”.
Lai added that while P1 is focused on the TDD version of LTE – which it aims to launch commercially in early 2013 – it needs FDD-LTE support in its devices to allow customers to roam to other LTE networks.
The deal, unsurprisingly, does not include plans to develop devices running both LTE and Wimax, the latter of which Qualcomm does not support.
Lai told the Show Daily on the sidelines of CommunicAsia that Wimax will still play its current role as a fixed-wireless and nomadic service, but that TD-LTE will fulfill the full-mobility service that Wimax has been slow in achieving.
“We always intended to roll out Wimax in three phases – fixed wireless, nomadic and mobile – and we’ve accomplished the first two, but the third hasn’t happened because Wimax handsets have been very slow in coming,” he said.
Mantosh Malhotra, Qualcomm’s regional head for Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore, added that Qualcomm will also work with P1 to develop its business models for TD-LTE, and that M2M would be a key area of device development under the agreement.
“Voice and SMS are commoditized now, and M2M is the next big frontier for mobile,” he said. “LTE will have a role to play, and there are several vertical apps for M2M that will require more bandwidth than what people usually associate with low-bandwidth apps like smart grids.”
Lai agreed, citing ATM machines as an example. “Today, ATM machines have fancier graphics and touchscreen interfaces and are being used more and more to run advertising, so you’re looking at bandwidth requirements from 12 kbps all the way up to 1 Mbps,” he said.
PacketOne Networks (Malaysia) booth: BS3-01
John C. Tanner