WiMAX beats 'pricey copper'

22 Jun 2007

It's all about the rising price of copper, says Ray Owen, head of technology, Motorola networks and enterprise, South & East Asia. 'We expect to see WiMAX and similar technologies like LTE expand in Asia as a large number of Asia-Pacific countries do not have fixed infrastructure.'

Owen said at CommunicAsia Summit that price-rises in raw copper make wireless even more attractive.

WiMAX, which Owen describes as 'Wi-Fi on steroids,' is a good compromise for mid-range devices. 'Wi-Fi comes from a computing environment,' says Owen, 'while UMTS and 3G are from a portable environment.'

'WiMAX will be embedded in chipsets whether you like it or not,' says Owen. 'Wi-Fi is now embedded in Centrino chipsets, and we firmly believe that WiMAX will [follow suit] as there are now commitments from chipset manufacturers.' Owen says he expects the first and second wave of mobile WiMAX products to be available before the end of the year.

Owens says that WiMAX is a low IPR environment, with the ability to trade off mobility and network capex, using IETF off-the-shell components, 'which has a big impact on costs, making WiMAX a great choice for developing markets.'

'The killer app for 3G, frankly, is voice,' he says. 'Today, data ARPUs on cellular are not where we thought they would be a few years ago.'

But WiMAX is different, declares Owen. 'I think the killer app for WiMAX will be data,' he says.

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