THE WRAP: Green powered cellcos

25 Jun 2008

It was the week that saw green tech in India, Wimax updates, patent lawsuits, and the unsung death of Net neutrality.

Last week's annual CommunicAsia event in Singapore served as a platform for companies to show off plenty of tech, one of the more topical being power-saving technology for wireless networks. For example, Indian start-up Acme Power Tele showcased base station power solutions that are already helping Indian cellcos cut their energy consumption - typically the biggest single opex cost for cellcos in emerging markets - and use the surplus power to serve nearby villages.

Whether cellcos give a cuss about the environment or not, the opex savings are not only attractive, but also crucial. One panel session at the CommunicAsia Summit declared that between falling ARPUs and relentless network upgrades, operators need to cut back their opex if they want to survive.

Other wireless-related CommunicAsia news for the week included Tele Atlas explaining how wikis are the future of digital maps, and ZTE's prediction that CDMA operators will choose LTE over UMB, thus relegating Wimax to the boondocks as a niche technology for fixed-line replacement.

If Wimax is destined to be niche tech, you'd never know it from the flurry of Wimax activity during the week. Sprint Nextel brought its Wimax credentials to Malaysia, signing a collaborative agreement with YTL e-Solutions (YTLe), under which Sprint's Xohm division will advise YTLe on Wimax rollouts.

Meanwhile, the Wimax Forum announced the first ten certified 2.5-GHz mobile Wimax products from member companies Airspan Networks, Alvarion, Beceem Communications, Intel, Motorola, Samsung Electronics, Sequans Communications and ZyXEL. The forum also revealed its roadmap for 3.5 and 2.3 GHz equipment certification, with plans for 3.5-GHz equipment to be certified by the end of this year.

It was also the week that gave Singapore's [email protected] public Wi-Fi project a boost via a new IDA initiative with SingTel, QMax, iCell and Nokia. The "[email protected] Seamless and Secure Access (SSA)" initiative will focus on improving usability and security as well as the convergence of [email protected] and Singapore's mobile networks, with the goal of boosting Wi-Fi usage among users with handheld devices.

In legal news for the week, Canadian technology licensing company Wi-Lan launched a new round of patent infringement lawsuits, targeting Motorola, Research In Motion, and UTStarcom. Wi-Lan didn't specify what damages or remedies it wants, but it's an old hand at the patent-infringement game - last year, it sued 22 major technology manufacturers for infringement, including Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Intel.

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