Mobile WiMax arrives in Europe

Almeria, Cartagena, Alicante, Valencia--four good reasons to go to sunny, enchanting southeastern Spain. For those interested in WiMax deployment, there is now another reason. Spanish operator Codium Networks, an independent integrator specializing in WiMax-driven network solutions, will use Navini Networks equipment to deploy a broadband wireless network in the region. Thousands of subscribers for the alternative telco Voz y Dato will receive service through the new network. Voz y Dato is one of the major alternative service providers in the region and has many years of wireless experience to its name.

The questions WiMax critics raised about WiMax technology have been compellingly answered: The technology is here. The more pressing and important questions have to do with the economics of WiMax network deployment and the operators' path to WiMax profitability. We should pay attention to what is taking place in Spain because the companies involved are very much aware of this. Codium CEO Kiriako Vergos says that making a broadband wireless access network profitable is all about avoiding both the elevated costs of professional subscriber terminal installation and the very slow market penetration rate that such an installation process would typically entail. Vergos says that with Codium's technology and network design formula, the company is finally permitting small to midsized operators such as Voz y Datos to develop their own broadband access infrastructure not only affordably but, more importantly, in a profit-guaranteeing manner.

Navini's Ripwave provides the access technology, and InfiNet Wireless Radio Router P-P Solution supplies the back haul. Jesus Fernandez, Voz y Datos' CEO, says the provider has tried line-of-sight or near line-of-sight BWA systems from different vendors, but now is seeing sales truly take off because the network infrastructure does not put a brake on the sales momentum. Additionally, Voz y Datos' customers are very excited about the fact that they can pick up a subscriber terminal from a local retailer or from the direct sales division and, practically in minutes, have a high-speed broadband connection up and running.  

Navini President and CEO Roger Dorf says that as the economics of a Smart Beamforming system are realized, this will be an important step forward for southern Europe and for Voz y Dato and Codium. WiMax 802.16e is moving forward, and Navini's equipment already provides 802.16e-like capabilities, allowing Voz y Datos to continue to drive the market in Spain and making it possible for Codium to strengthen its position in the European market. Dorf is correct to point out that it is finally the reliability of the service that has to be emphasized, not only the ease and speed in which installation can happen. The ease of access may win the sale, but it is the confidence in the service provided that keeps the customer and guarantees long-term growth, Dorf says.  

For more on mobile WiMax in Europe:
- see this press release
- see Susan Campbell's TMCnet report

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