WiMAX maintains momentum in Africa, Middle East

Recent announcements from Africa and the Middle East show that WiMAX still has legs as carriers, vendors and governments pursue deployment of the technology in that region and the WiMAX Forum prepares to holds its first Middle East-focused event.

Alvarion this week announced that longtime customer ETI in Guinea will use the vendor's 4Motion 802.16e WiMAX gear to expand its 2.5 GHz broadband network from the capital city, Conakry, to the entire country, covering an area of 94,981 square miles.

"After having gained experience with Alvarion's 4Motion over past four years, we were confident in our decision to continue using it as we expand our network from Conakry to cover the rest of the country," stated Latif Taleb, founder and CEO of ETI.

Earlier in November, Alvarion announced $2 million in contract wins with the Internet Technologies Group (ITG) of Africa. Internet Technologies Angola is migrating its current network from FDD to TDD technology and will deploy Alvarion's 4Motion 802.16e gear in the 3.5 GHz band. Cities targeted for the deployment include the capital city Luanda, as well as Lobito, Benguela and Lubango.

Internet Technologies Namibia replaced an older 802.16d network with Alvarion's 4Motion equipment in the 2.5 GHz band, serving the capital city of Windhoek as well as Oshakati and Walvis Bay, Namibia's largest commercial port city.

In addition, Internet Technologies Zambia intends to deploy Alvarion's BreezeCompact solution in the 3.5 GHz band, covering the capital, Lusaka, as well as Zambia's second and third largest cities, Ndola and Kitwe. The BreezeCompact base station is a software-defined radio platform for 802.16e service and is also TD-LTE Advanced Ready.

Meanwhile, last week Afghanistan's Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) awarded WiMAX licenses to three operators, according to Telegeography. Neda Telecom, IO Global and Arianna Network Services each paid $520,000 for a license. The MCIT said it hopes the three WiMAX licenses and assignment of 3G licenses earlier this year will increase Internet access from less than one-third of Afghanistan's population to around 80 percent within two years  

In other regional news, Yemen's Public Telecommunication Corporation (PTC) officially launched a WiMAX network. The project, worth $2.75 million (591 million Yemeni rials), will proceed in two phases to cover both Sana'a and Aden, Yemen, through 28 tower stations, said National Yemen.

Such developments provide a positive backdrop for the WiMAX Forum's WiMAX Middle East 2012 event for vendors and operators, which will be held on Dec. 3 in Dubai. "This will be our first Middle East-focused event and will focus specifically on supporting the Middle Eastern operator community in developing and managing profitable growth of WiMAX network deployments," said the forum.

For more:
- see this Alvarion release and the release
- see the Telegeography article
- see this National Yemen article
- see this WiMAX Forum webpage

Related articles:
Nepal Telecom rolls out WiMAX
WiMAX Forum opens door to harmonization with LTE Advanced
ABI: LTE subs surpass WiMAX in U.S., South Korea, Japan
WiMAX Forum president describes roadmap wherein WiMAX, LTE are complementary
WiMAX makes a strong showing in Pakistan, Bangladesh