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18 | June 2008 |
Congress Asia
pulls in the crowds
The WiMAX Forum Congress event, the biggest of its kind in the region,
highlights Asia as a hot-bed of WiMAX activity. By Ken Wieland
iMAX Forum Congress Asia 2008,
produced by Informa Telecoms & Media
on behalf of the WiMAX Forum, lived up
to its billing as a must-attend event. An impressive
line-up of more than 30 high-level speakers from
Asia’s operator community convened in Singapore
on April 9-10 to discuss their WiMAX rollout
plans, forecasts and marketing strategies with 2,700
participants from 81 countries across the region.
In doing so, the event underlined how far Asia is
warming to WiMAX, both in the region’s developed
and developing markets.
In Japan, Dr Fumio Watanabe, CTO of UQ
Communications (KDDI’s WiMAX joint venture)
outlined plans for full commercial service launch in
mid-2009 comprising 1,600 base stations using Wave
2 Phase 2 equipment. Th e network is to be extended
to 4,000 base stations by the end of its 2009 fi scal
“A great day for the WiMAX ecosystem.” Ron Resnick, president and chairman of the WiMAX Forum, announces to conference delegates
that the fi rst batch of mobile products have been certifi ed
year (31 March 2009) with the aim of signing up
around 300,000 WiMAX subscribers by that time. In the towns and cities in India’s ‘circles’ by June 2008. “We expect 200,000 customers by
Korea Telekom, in anticipation of greater device (regions), BSNL is adopting a franchise model for March 2009 and 3 million in the next fi ve years,”
availability this year, expects to increase the number 2.5GHz rollout. Th e franchisee stumps up the capex he added. “Th is would make it the largest WiMAX
of subscribers to its WiBro service to 410,000 by the for WiMAX kit but has access to BSNL’s site towers, deployment in the world covering a population of
end 2008 (150,000 in April). core infrastructure and backhaul facilities. Revenue 250 million.”
In Asia’s developing markets, broadband-starved is then split between BSNL and the franchisee, BSNL has already invited EOIs (expressions of
India represents an enormous opportunity for WiMAX. although Goyal gave no details of the revenue-share interest) for its WiMAX franchisee model in India’s
Kuldeep Goyal, chairman and managing director of percentages. other circles.
state-owned Indian telco BSNL, said he is targeting BSNL’s fi rst franchise agreement was struck Goyal is confi dent that the Indian government’s
commercial launch of mobile WiMAX this summer, with WiMAX kit vendor Soma Networks in target of 20 million broadband connections by 2010
“Providing the government releases the 2.5GHz January 2008 and covers three circles: Gujarat, can be met (although only 3.47 million of India’s
spectrum [20MHz] we have been allocated, we will Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Goyal says 1.15 billion population had broadband connections
start mobile WiMAX in June,” he said. “We hope to commercial trials, comprising 25 base stations as of February 2008). “We expect to provide half
get that spectrum very soon.” in each of these three circles, will be completed of the by 2010 target ourselves,” Goyal continued,
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