Mobile WiMAX to work in 700 MHz band

During a press conference at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the WiMAX Forum announced it is adding the 700 MHz band to its mobile WiMAX technology road map. The specs will be unveiled soon and will support both TDD (Time Division Duplex) and FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) certification profiles.

The WiMAX community needed a solid story when it comes to FDD because the technology's backers have high hopes for mobile WiMAX in the 700 MHz band.  Much of the 700 MHz band's spectrum, including the coveted C-block, is configured for FDD signaling.

Last month the forum debunked reports that it was set to reveal an FDD profile for mobile WiMAX within six months. The WiMAX Forum in January was adamant no decisions were made on an FDD profile, and therefore it had no official timeline pertaining to releasing one. I noted then that the WiMAX world's move to emphasize the TDD band creates an opportunity for WiMAX to be the most viable option for unpaired spectrum with little competition rather than pitting itself aggressively against HSPA, EV-DO and LTE in the paired bands.

What it appears the WiMAX Forum is doing now is strategically adding new FDD profiles to different spectrum bands that could benefit from an FDD mobile WiMAX profile. Sources close to the WiMAX Forum say an FDD profile for the Advanced Wireless Service (AWS) band in the U.S. is also imminent as is one for the 2496-2690 MHz band, which is reserved for broadband services in the U.S. SpectrumCo, the joint venture formed by Sprint (which withdrew from the consortium in August) and cable heavyweights Comcast, Cox, Time Warner and others, purchased $2.37 billion worth of spectrum in the AWS band last year and has yet to announce its plans for the spectrum.--Lynnette