This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book. | June 2008 | 37
WiMAX is the most cost-effective technology for creating
an independent network
Marek Trznadel, Netia
Netia’s broadband subscriber base by technology
Number of broadband ports Q1 2008 Q4 2007 Q3 2007 Q2 2007 Q1 2007
xDSL and FastEthernet 120,209 111,223 94,621 88,468 62,528
over Netia’s own fi xed-line network
WiMAX Internet 7,192 5,861 4,658 3,516 2,192
Bitstream access 128,499 99,346 70,945 40,770 35,836
Others 1,022 1,088 1,144 1,224 1,266
Total 256,922 217,518 171,368 133,978 101,822
dling, Netia’s WiMAX focus has now fi rmly shift ed month. “We’ve also got a good deal on CPE prices, “Th ere is a huge opportunity to develop WiMAX
from town to country. “Both bit-stream and LLU which means profi t margins are much higher with in Poland though local municipalities, or compa-
require less capex per user than WiMAX [in urban WiMAX than DSL,” adds Trznadel. “Th e majority of nies fully owned by the local government,” says
areas],” he says. our WiMAX base stations are profi table.” Trznadel. “Th e investment required could be subsi-
There is plenty of scope for broadband growth Trznadel does not disclose the amount of dised by the EU by up to 80 percent if a municipal-
in Poland. The country’s broadband penetra- WiMAX investment Netia has made, or has plans ity is a benefi ciary.”
tion currently stands at 8.4 percent, which puts to make. Netia has publicly stated, however, that Th e business model that Trznadel envis-
it in a lowly 26th position (jointly with Greece) it will invest PLN700m (US$320m) over three ages would restrict local municipalities to being
in a ranking of EU member states. By the end of years to 2010 to achieve its one million broadband infrastructure owners only. To deliver services to
2007 TP had 2.15 million broadband subscribers, subscriber target. end-users, the local authorities would then lease
giving it a broadband market share of over 50 One area where Netia will not be investing capacity to telcos, such as Netia, which, in turn,
percent. is mobile WiMAX, even though there is the would then link their own network and back offi ce
Netia’s total market share of broadband subscrib- prospect of a nationwide licence in the 2.3GHz systems to the WiMAX network to off er services
ers in Poland doubled in the 12 months to 31 March frequency band (50MHz) becoming available directly to customers.
2008, going from 2.4 percent to 5.1 percent. It some time this year, which would be ideal for “It is generally not commercially attractive for
gained an estimated 17 percent share of broad- mobile WiMAX. telcos to enter cities with less than 15,000 inhabit-
band market net additions during that time, fi rmly Instead, Netia’s mobile aspirations are being ants,” says Trznadel, “so it makes sense for the mu-
establishing the company as the country’s number channelled through P4, which runs a 3G network in nicipal [WiMAX] projects to be fi rst developed in
one altnet. Warsaw and Gdansk. Last year, Netia sold its 23.4 the smaller cities. WiMAX is the most cost-eff ective
percent interest in P4 for €130 (US$200m), which technology for creating an independent network.”
WiMAX goes where TP doesn’t reach will be used to help fund the company’s broadband In Poland there are 650 cities with less than
Netia’s WIMAX footprint covers between 30 expansion plans. Netia does, however, have an 20,000 people each (comprising a total of around 5
percent and 40 percent of Poland’s population. MVNO arrangement with the P4 and expects to million people).
Supplied by Alcatel-Lucent (with Alvarion as the launch 3G services this summer. As such, Trznadel But while the potential for such a WiMAX
OEM), the network comprises 78 base stations and sees no need for mobile WiMAX. “I don’t buy into business model to take hold seems promising,
uses the 802.16d standard (fi xed WiMAX). the idea that mobile WiMAX and UMTS are com- there are still a number of obstacles, as Trznadel
Th e WiMAX rollout is targeted at areas where plementary,” he says. “Th ey are fully competitive freely points out. “The main thing required for
there is either poor service by TP or “insuffi cient technologies and there is no need for one operator this to work is managerial skill at local govern-
coverage”, which means there is little scope to off er to have both.” ment level,” he says. “Unfortunately, those skill
bitstream or LLU. “We can off er up to 2Mbps, with levels are insufficient.”
the average at 1.2Mbps, plus normal equivalence New WiMAX business models On the upside, Trznadel reports that the
of analogue PSTN,” says Trznadel. “We also off er While Netia has throttled back on WiMAX Polish regulator has made additional frequen-
number portability, to allow easy migration onto due to the emergence of a stronger regulator, cies available in the 3.5GHz, 3.6GHz and 3.8GHz
the WiMAX service.” Trznadel nevertheless sees scope for wider adop- frequency bands to give local municipalities an
Th rough lack of service choice in the areas where tion of the technology if local municipalities take extra incentive to go down the WiMAX route.
Netia has rolled out WiMAX, ARPU is higher (€40 advantage of available EU funds (set aside for So far, no local authority has taken the bait,
per month) than its normal ADSL service (off ering building up the information society among EU although Trznadel is hopeful that this will change
both voice and broadband) where ARPU is €30 per member states). before this year is out.
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