Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mobile broadband : War of the worlds

It looks like a battle field where the battle has just began. Mobile Broadband is the field and no one wants to be left behind. All the big brothers in the telecom world are getting ready for it. No one wants to be left behind. More interestingly, no one wants to follow the other.

Sprint-Clearwire: In my previous blogs I have already covered the Sprint-Clearwire story. Both of them together holds the largest chunk of 2.5 GHz bandwidth on which they will deploy WiMAX, countrywide. If things go fine, by the end of 2008 they will hold around 100 million subscriber base in US. They have shown tremendous tenacity, so far, to go with WiMAX deployment. Specially after the resignation of the main power house behind the deal, Gary Forsee, the ex Sprint CEO. Sprint is also having plans of enhancing it to mobile WiMAX.

AT&T: While AT&T also wants to catch the train, it is not taking the same path. AT&T bought Aloha Partners on this October 9. Aloha Partners was the owner of largest 700 MHz licenses in US. This 700 MHz, also termed as "Beachfront property" for its high propagation and penetration properties, is a interesting spectrum. In a metropolitan area, a transmission site using 700 MHz can replace many 2.5 GHz transmitting sites. Thus, by acquiring Aloha, AT&T assured that it is not going to scratch its head on WiMAX.

Verizon: Qualcomm always has been one of the major infrastructure providers of Verizon Wireless. Qualcomm has its own answer to cheap-cost, high-bandwidth, mobile broadband technologies. Its called Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB). But in today's businessweek I saw "Verizon Wireless is considering switching its technology allegiance." for broadband. Bad luck Qualcomm. Looks like Verizon is interested in the LTE (Long Term Evolution). This is the 4G technology of the European GSM operators.

So that is the story of the ongoing technology battle of the service providers in US.
Who wins it, will also decide which of these technologies proliferates more in years to come.

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