WiMAX World Europe – Final Day

The closing day of WiMAX World Europe’s conference program opened with Dr. Mo Shakouri, VP, Corporate Strategy Alvarion, Board Member and Vice President, Marketing for the WiMAX Forum, who provided delegates with a view of the diverse needs of the EMEA market as well as an update on the WiMAX Forum’s activities. Dr. Shakouri expressed concern that Western European nations could become laggards in implementation of mobile WiMAX networks if changes to spectrum regulation are not undertaken. He further encouraged vendors and the WiMAX Forum to focus on both the interoperability and delivery of low cost devices.

Sprint Nextel’s, Chief Technology Officer and President of 4G Mobile Broadband, informed delegates that Sprint Nextel is “not building another mobile voice network, we’re building a network to embrace the new business opportunities provided by the mobile internet.” He went on to add that “it’s difficult to grow Average Revenue per User (ARPU) by giving away more minutes – you have to find new growth opportunities or your margins will go away.”

Peter MacKinnon, General Manager, Nortel WiMAX, Chairman of the Board, LG-Nortel Co. Ltd. shared some contrast of WiMAX and High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSPDA). MacKinnon offered that “Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) and Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) technology has driven costs to 1/10th per bit of those of 3G networks.” While it is asserted that HSPDA R6 results in 67% fewer required sites, MacKinnon went on to report that WiMAX Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) delivered 80% savings over HSPDA.

Adding to MacKinnon’s observations in a subsequent session, Bruno Potdevin, Vice President, Advanced Business Development, WiMAX Business Unit, Wireless Business Group, Alcatel-Lucent informed the session that for WiMAX networks “sensitivity analysis on revenue generation (ARPU and penetration rates) show a good robustness of all the business cases to degraded assumptions.” More specifically Potdevin stated that the Return on Investment (ROI) was always less than 5 years and the Internal Rate of Return was better than 70% after 10 years. Financial benefits also include reduced operational costs and risk, reduced churn and new ARPU.

Philip Marshall, Vice President, Enabling Technologies, Yankee Group hosted a provocative panel session, “The Great Debate: WiMAX vs. HSPA/LTE”. Panellist Hans Höglund, Marketing Director at Business Unit Networks, Ericsson asserted that the real issue is “about getting the experience to the end user” and that “you can do virtually everything with WiMAX that you can do with HSPA”. He went on to say that the timeline and capabilities are comparable and that what standard you choose will be based on your core assets and frequency domains you have access to.

Lars Johnsson, VP of Business Development, Beceem Communications disagreed with Höglund’s assertion that WiMAX and HSPA are similar. Johnsson stated that WiMAX’s openness and innovativeness is what delivers value. HSPA, in Johnsson’s opinion, represents “business as usual in the 3G community – with less ability to innovate on the platform.” He cites this as a clash of the telco and computing worlds.

The Service Provider Executive Roundtable Keynote session moderated by Berge Ayvazian, Chief Strategy Officer, Yankee Group underscored the importance of the Industry and Forum’s role. Peter Ziegelwanger, CTO, WiMAX Telecom expressed a sense of urgency in deploying WiMAX networks. WiMAX Telecom is delivering fixed service in rural and suburban areas of Central Europe. Referring to WiMAX technologies he stated that “we have to earn money with it now, there is no time to do trials and play around. We need to choose equipment with commercial stability.”

About WiMAX World Conference & Expo
WiMAX World Conference & Expo is the largest event series in the world focused on WiMAX and mobile broadband, attracting over 10,000 attendees and over 400 sponsors and exhibitors in the USA, Europe and Asia. WiMAX World Conference & Expo is dedicated to providing an unbiased and balanced view of where WiMAX stands today and what role it will play in the future of one of the fastest-growing market segments in the world – wireless and mobile broadband.