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Friday, 22 September 2006 08:20

WiMAX operator wannabes form global grouping

A new industry group, chaired by Unwired chairman Steve Cosser, with membership exclusive to owners of WiMAX spectrum has been formed to promote the technology and particularly to deal with interoperability issues between networks and establish global roaming agreements.

Founding members of the WiMAX Spectrum Owners Alliance (WiSOA) are Unwired Australia, Network Plus Mauritius, UK Broadband, Irish Broadband, Austar Australia/Liberty Group, Telecom New Zealand, WiMAX Telecom Group, Enertel, and Woosh Telecom announced today the launch of the WiMAX Spectrum Owners Alliance (WiSOA). Their vision is of one billion WiMAX users.

WiSOA has announced its intention to sign the first international WiMAX roaming agreement in December. This will cover all WiMAX services and operate acrosss in all WiMAX frequency ranges and will act as the backbone of a future global WiMAX network that adheres to the 802.16e standards.

The organisation notes that "the importance of global roaming has been proven with GSM. Today there are 25,000 roaming agreements worldwide generating over $25 billion in revenue every year."

There has long been anticipation of a global battle between the more established cellular technologies and WiMAX and the huge roaming opportunities available to GSM, and WCDMA, users will give that technology a huge advantage over WiMAX unless the latter can come close to matching it.

The WCDMA camp is already waging a PR campaign against WiMAX. Last week 3G Americas published a white paper claiming it demonstrated that "GSM/UMTS has an overwhelming global position in terms of subscribers, deployment, and services [and] its success will marginalise other wide-area wireless technologies."

The WiMAX camp, however believes WiMAX will do all that 3G can. "WiMAX is a disruptive technological breakthrough in the telecommunications sector, and will deliver personal broadband to enable users to access the Web, make telephone calls, watch videos and play music," said Cosser.

WiSOA says its work will complement the work of the WiMAX Forum and that it . However, its particular focus is on WiMAX networks, "most especially on resolving those issues related to the definition and implementation of interoperable network infrastructure, services and agreements."

To promote its aims, the organisation has launched a daily newsletter, available on free subscription from www.wisoa.com

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