This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book. | June 2008 | 35
The challenge for WiMAX technology is that the
eco-system hasn’t yet reached full maturity
Zainal Amanshah, REDtone
Overview of the
Malaysian market
Population 27.45 million
Households 5.967 million
Perak GDP per capita $6,500
Penetration rate (end 2007):
Broadband 5%
spectrum Selangor
Cellular 85.1%
Internet dial-up 14.3%
Regional Hub
Fixed line 15.8%
IP Core
BTS Aggregation
Source: Maxis Communications
Fiber Backbone
Leased Line
REDtone’s WiMAX rollout plan in Malaysia
Th at is why REDtone is turning to higher margin one cell downloading data, the slower the average where there is non-interrupted line of sight.
data services, using a mixture of WiMAX, 3G and downlink speed for all those users. Zainal argues, REDtone had yet to choose its suppliers for
FTTH. To deliver 3G, REDtone has an MVNO agree- however, that it is still possible to off er SLAs over commercial WiMAX rollout at the time WiMAX
ment with Celcom, Telekom Malaysia’s mobile subsidi- WiMAX because the download behaviour of busi- Vision went to press, although Zainal says he is in
ary. Mobile services were launched during 1Q 2008. ness customers is far more predictable than it is discussion with all the Tier One players.
For FTTH, REDtone leases capacity from with consumers. Perhaps surprisingly, they don’t include any Ko-
Telekom Malaysia, which has ambitious plans to “Enterprise customers tell you exactly what they rean vendors, even though Korea Telecom’s WiBRO
roll out FTTH in the country’s major cities with the need and when they need it,” he says. “Consum- service to which they supply gear to operates in the
help of government funding. ers can download anything from anywhere at same 2.3GHz band. “We use 5MHz and 10MHz
With so many diff erent broadband technologies anytime.” channels and the WiBRO standard uses 8.75MHz
at its disposal, where does REDtone see WiMAX channels, “ says Zainal. “Th e Korean vendors don’t
fi tting in? WiMAX on trial appear fl exible in changing that.”
“Primarily for urban deployment for business cus- From the WiMAX trials that REDtone has conduct- Moving forward, Zainal does not rule out mak-
tomers as it would be too expensive to roll out WiMAX ed, Zainal says he is pleased with the performance. ing a greater marketing push into the consumer
in rural areas due to the low density of potential users,” Under optimal conditions (using MIMO technol- broadband market with a WiMAX-based service,
responds Zainal. “And within urban areas, WiMAX ogy and 10MHz channels) throughput of a three- although (like the business customer segment
could be used to give business customers with fi bre sector base station totals 69Mbps (which translates REDtone serves) it won’t have mobility attached to
connections extra redundancy, or to off er better point- to 23Mbps per sector or cell). From that, REDtone it. “HSPA is probably a better option than WiMAX
to-point performance in places where fi bre is not avail- reports that a user can typically receive between for doing that because of the cheaper equipment,”
able. We don’t see WiMAX as being ready yet for true 1Mbps and 5Mbps on the downlink depending on he says. ‘And anyway, do you really need mobility
mobility, though. We use 3G and HSPA to off er that.” the number of other active users in the cell. for high-speed data?”
Although some mobile operators around the REDtone is still in the process of calculating To sum up the challenge facing REDtone in
world are using HSPA as a form of DSL substitution the optimum number of business customers per Malaysia, and probably most operators around
to break into the fi xed-line broadband market, Za- WiMAX base station in order to off er meaningful the world, Zainal highlights two letters that come
inal doesn’t view this as an optimal solution for the SLAs. up time and time again when talking to custom-
business customer, especially if WiMAX is available Tactfully, Zainal describes the general and ers: ‘c’ and ‘g’. “Customers want the service to
“WiMAX provides better performance for point- far-reaching claims made by some vendors a both cheap and good,” he says.
to-point connections than 3G and the ability to couple of years ago that WiMAX could offer as From the WiMAX trials carried out so far it
off er SLAs, specifi cally in enterprise networks’ data much as 70Mbps over 70km as simply “exag- seems that REDtone can deliver on the ‘g’. If it is
environments,” says Zainal. gerated”. From the REDtone trials, the typical to succeed on the ‘c’—and still achieve attractive
In both cellular and WiMAX networks, custom- radius reach of a base station at 2.3GHz is margins to please its shareholders—then Zainal, by
ers located within one cell compete for the data between 3km and 4km. Distances of 70km can his own admission, must drive a better bargain with
throughput that is available. Th e more customers in only be achieved for point-to-point connections his WiMAX suppliers.
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