20070303

3G & 4G - WiMAX flirts with ITU

Following the WiMAX Forum's whitepaper on "WiMAX and IMT-2000" (20070122), the ITU could consider mobile WiMAX as an official 3G technology. Along with W-CDMA and CDMA2000, but also EDGE or DECT.

And this time it could work, since major cellcos may not want to counterlobby the IEEE on that one. Arun Sarin recently warned fellow MNOs about the risk of letting WiMAX kill 3G but Vodafone may want to trade its nod with a permanent lock on its GSM spectrum. And cellcos don't want another battle for 4G licensing (beyond the colossal sums paid to governments, they have to cope with license fees from Qualcomm & Co, not to mention the complexity of technos overloaded with unnecessary specs). Even in the 3GSM world, WiMAX could be welcomed as a convenient cornerstone for 4G LTE (better have them with us than against us).

But the IT-telecom war ain't over till it's over, and I'm not sure European manufacturers will tolerate the gift to Cisco & Co that soon. In France, Orange, SFR and Bouygues won't let Iliad end up with 3G for Free that easily.

Unless you consider IT gave up the war and decided to join the telecom band. Not unlike Qualcomm's GSM1x, the large IEEE 802.16 family's latest avatars are advertised as the natural evolution of their main competitors (TDD inside, MBS combining DVB-H and 3GPP E-UTRA...). Even WiBro, that prodigal son, is welcomed back home. How cute... Charles Ingalls will have to cut a lot of wood for the party tonight.

IEEE 802.16m* evolution looks great, but so did 802.16n, with n the variable for the number of years before actual delivery. And this is not your own OFDMA out there, but "IP-OFDMA". Indeed, from WiFi to WiMAX and 3G, "Pervasive Computing" would completely claim the W-LAN - W-MAN - W-WAN spectrum, and fulfill its dream of stealing both seamlessness and security from the 3GSM DNA, locking a firmer than ever grip on the femtocell level, where a massive herd of wild devices roam not always peacefully.

Convergence ahead, at last ? Universal Mobile Telecommunication System ahead, at last ? Negociation ahead, for sure.



* "1Giga 4G" or rather 100 Mbps for mobile apps and 1 Gbps for fixed apps.



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