A telecommunications analyst has hit back at claims that WiMax will lose out to 3G in the mobile data race, claiming it will instead deliver true wireless broadband and generate a mobile revolution by 2010.
In his latest report on Australia's wireless broadband market, independent analyst, Paul Budde, predicted a world of opportunity for providers and resellers through the arrival of WiMax certified products.
The rise of portable personal devices, such as iPods, gaming, email and video players, was already driving demand for true wireless broadband services, he said.
Budde defined true broadband as speeds of 10Mbps or more.
"With WiMax certified products already beginning to arrive and full commercial deployment expected in 2007-2008, there will be several opportunities for this new technology," he said.
"The longer it takes for incumbents to roll out true broadband networks, the more chance wireless broadband [WiMax and meshed Wi-Fi] has of securing a position in this market. In the end it will depend on whether the technology case and the business case for WiMax can stand up against alternative offerings from fixed and other mobile systems."
According to Budde, opportunities will centre more on the area of Mobility and Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs), an area previously dominated by short-range technologies like Ultra-Wide Band and Bluetooth.
"The mobile aspects of this [wireless broadband] market are going show us the way forward where mobile data failed," he said. "This is the new market of mobility. It will further develop in an AI [artificial intelligence] network infrastructure, linking to personal devices, with high storage capacity and parallel processing. Data will move freely around this wireless grid, which of course, will also be linked into the fixed network."
Budde disagreed with Frost & Sullivan analyst, Tony Tu, who recently claimed the biggest restraint to WiMax was its lack of mobility. (See story: http://www.computerworld.com.au/index.php?id=997206255)
"I think that nomadic use for most data applications is OK and that over time mobility will be added," Budde said. "There is such a large pent-up demand for affordable wireless data services that the mobility factor will not be a major problem - certainly not in the first few years.
"Mobile networks [including the touted 3.5G standard, HSDPA] are not well suited for mass market mobile data services. They are simply too costly to run and don't have enough capacity and spectrum for such services. WiMax is a dedicated data service and thus able to deliver affordable high-speed data services."
Budde said it would take many years for wireless operators to reach the scale of current mobile networks. However, he predicted the rise of WiMax would force mobile operators to speed up the transition from 3G to 4G.
"Without WiMax competition, the mobile and 3G operators would like to delay the intro of 4G until 2012-2015. If that was the case there wouldn't be any mass market mobile data for the next 10 years," he said.