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Summary:

I argued about Fixed Wireless as backhaul business yesterday and also had pointed to BellSouth buying fixed wireless spectrum from MCI for about $65 million. Today Glenn provides proof. bq. BellSouth is starting a new trial of broadband wireless in Palatka, Florida: The company is still […]

I argued about Fixed Wireless as backhaul business yesterday and also had pointed to BellSouth buying fixed wireless spectrum from MCI for about $65 million. Today Glenn provides proof.

bq. BellSouth is starting a new trial of broadband wireless in Palatka, Florida: The company is still leveraging its expensive wire base, but it’s conducted ongoing tests of broadband fixed wireless as a way to reach customers beyond the range of DSL. via 802.11b Networking News

  1. Charlie Sierra Thursday, March 25, 2004

    >>>BellSouth buying fixed wireless spectrum from MCI for about $65 million.

    Big problem here, in that BLS never bought the MCI MMDS spectrum.

    They were outbid by Nextel, who paid ~$140m. Nextel also bought the Nucentrix MMDS spectrum during its BK for ~$60m.

    The BLS florida test is using spectrum they already owned.

    Fixed Wireless was hot at CTIA. But just like in the PC business, Intel is playing hardball and thinks they can BUY this market.

    The games being played on the 802.16 (WiMAX) and 802.20 (Wi-Mobile or Mobile-Fi) are a disgrace.

    The big problem Intel will have is that they don’t know jack about wireless and they won’t be able to fake it, no matter how much money they flush down the rathole.

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  2. I think that Intel CAN buy the wireless sector when it’s got Nokia on it’s side in backing both 802.16 and and .20. And though the company may or may not know anything about wireless – I happen to think they do have a bit of clue – they will help push these standards through and into products – that’s clear. Just look at the way all the proprietary fixed wireless guys are lining up to use the Intel chips supporting WiMax.

    As for whether or not WiMax is a backhaul technology – we’ll just have to see. When you can deploy a WiMax solution (or a close cousin like, say, Flarion) and have true broadband speeds from anywhere, then you may or may not need WiFi at all. Granted, if you’ve made an investment, then it may make sense to replace your wireline with wireless – if the price is right. But the pricing on all fixed wireless probably won’t start beating cable or DSL until around 2007-2008 by reports I’m reading. If that’s the case, then people won’t buy it as a backhaul tech – they’d buy it if they are a nomad with a laptop. Bottom line: you’ll see it used in different ways in different situations. Another example of this is the higher frequency wireless tech which is most useful, at this point, for backhauling huge amounts of data replacing carrier T-1 lines.

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  3. Guys – sorry about the BLS thing – somehow it slipped my eye that Nextel outbid them. I am not too sure about Intel’s games right now because to be honest, I don’t have a clear handle on what they are trying to do here. anyone wants to email me explaining this Intel game plan, you know how to reach me. i would appreciate the help

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  4. Intel’s game seems pretty straightforward to me: they’re always looking for a new chip market, and WiMax presents that. If there isn’t a standard, however, there will a confused public and therefore not enough sold to make it worthwhile. Intel is now working with all the proprietary wireless vendors (like IPWireless and Navini) to create wireless technology that uses Intel chips. By standardizing, it may lead to broad-base adoption ala Wifi.

    Nokia is more interesting – as you have pointed out so well, Nokia will continue to come under price pressure for their handsets. They may be looking around for a way to bypass the carriers – and WiMax may offer them that sort of opportunity.

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  5. Charlie Sierra Thursday, March 25, 2004

    Navini is only a recent and reluctant member of the WiMAX cabal.

    Om,

    Its the “Wireless Soprano’s”, complete if political coup’s, etc.

    Here’s a link to bring you upto speed.

    see: http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/69/36078.html

    The IEEE 802.20 election was again hijacked.

    Awhile back on another comment post on your blog, I stated that there are only 3 generic strategies in business: 1) Innovation – lots of glory, rarely any cash, 2) Immitation – lots of cash, and 3) Frustration – cash out before the suckers find out.

    All three are at work here.
    1) Flarion is the innovator that has let a fire under everybody.

    2) Immitation – One of the really funny things at CTIA was the QCOM display of 1xEV-DO Release A (its second iteration). Mind you, it has NO customers, but they were proud as hell to show off that the CDMA latency was finally reduced to the equal of Flarion’s. And finally after years of requests from CDMA200 customers, the greedy fat and lazy bastards at QCOM improved the old crappy, but very critical, reverse link. Why let real progress holdup the all-important task of adding GSM to their chipset portfolio.

    QCOM is a monster in waiting, Sprint PCS should’ve paid more attention to Flarion 3yrs ago when they had the chance.

    Sprint PCS spent over $20B to build a nationwide CDMA2000 network, that Nextel/Flarion can leag-frog for less than $2B.

    3) Frustration – Intel’s hijacking of a competing technology standardization process, with no other goal than to eliminate it, is disgraceful.

    The shill they installed as the head of 802.20 was re-elected (Soviet style) just a few weeks ago, so the fraud continues.

    Bottomline, WiMAX (802.16e) is not good enough for Real World carriers to commit to, Flarion may fail to make it thru standardization, QCOM and its verisons of 3G are too expensive, so the great unwashed mass may have to wait some more for decent service.

    This is hardball after all.

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