Tuesday, August 9, 2011


As IP networks become faster (higher bandwidth) and more responsive (lower delay), the set of services implemented on IP-based networks has grown. This growth generates more revenue opportunities for service providers, and thus next-generation networks are all migrating toward IP technology. From an operator standpoint, services can be broken into four billable classes: 

(1) basic Internet services which are typically billed at a flat rate, 
(2) premium Internet services which are important not only to improve ARPU, but to add new services, 
(3) VPN services which can be billed by QoS level, and 
(4) operator premium services which are applications provided on the operator’s network.
The service providers are expected to gain profits through the sale of the different services and applications that WiMAX is capable of carrying. The different services that can be offered on WiMAX networks include best effort VoIP, carrier class IP telephony through the IP multimedia core, music, video conferencing, streaming video, interactive gaming, mobile instant messaging (IM), IP television (IPTV), basic broadband wireless Internet, and other application-based services to corporate customers. The concept of unbundling the network reduces the barriers of entry into the mobile telecommunications industry because a provider does not need to own the whole network.
The business aspect of the service providers can also be looked at from two perspectives. The first one is where the service provider owns the whole system including the core network and the access network. The second option is the unbundled option where the access network and core networks exist as independent business entities.
In emerging markets such as Africa, and South Asia where telecom investment is still nascent and 3G yet to be launched, WiMAX makes complete business sense even at equal cost, better speeds, better spectrum utilization, and the promise of broadband to a much sparsely spread population. For developed economies, the United States for instance, the 2.3 spectrum band is believed to be more capex efficient and hence better than 3G and high-speed uplink packet access (HSUPA). More importantly, the phase in the capex cycle of a telecom operator will determine each operator strategy—whether to embrace WiMAX or stick to its existing technology. The WiMAX industry entered the year 2007 as a year for ecosystem buildup in the preparation for regional and nationwide deployments of WiMAX services. It appears that 2008 will be a make-or-break period for WiMAX. Figure 1 shows a global WiMAX deployment by region.

Figure 1: Global WiMAX networks. APAC = Asia Pacific, CALA = Caribbean and Latin America.

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