Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Telecom Conference Ends But Surprising; WiMax Dominated

Verizon. Hey, AT&T. It was Sprint. Yeah, it was Sprint that hit you. Oh, and while you were down, it was T-Mobile that kick sand in your face.

While Verizon and AT&T were talking. Just talking, Sprint "sprints" on and put more distance between it and the rest of the field. It remains in 3rd place but no one is saying that is isn't trying.

First, WiMax will be coming to additional markets, including some big ones: Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and about another dozen major cities. No more small towns in Texas, thank you very much.

Oh, Evo? Not "evil". HTC EVO, the first Wimax, 4G, -ready handset. It runs Android, has a huge 4.3" screen (Droid at 3.7", iPhone 3GS at 3.5'), and it's ready for video-conferencing with front facing camera. Okay, there have been other handsets with webcams but none of them run on a 4G network.

What has AT&T and Verizon been talking about? Nothing new. Innovation this. Innovation that. Nothing new. A lot of trash talking if that. Oh, they're waiting for more wireless spectrum.

Meanwhile, Sprint is telling everyone all is good and they've got enough bandwidth for everyone. Including, it appars, video conferencing.

Now about T-Mobile? HSPA+ is almost ready and it's going to be turned on in a matter of months. And they claim it is comparable to WiMax. We'll see if that pans out. Nevertheless, for the 4th place carrier, that came late to the 3G party, it has certainly made strides. HSPA+ will be up and running in about 100 cities in 2010.

Meanwhile, AT&T continued to talk over everyone but provided no firm dates on LTE and, for that matter, when iPhone tethering would be available. As far as matching T-Mobile's HSPA+, AT&T isn't going to try. It's CTO was talking about HSPA 7.2 - theoretically maxing out at 7.2mbps.

This is good I suppose. CEO of Deutsche Telekom, parent company, of T-Mobile USA stated he was looking to have the iPhone on T-Mobile's network later this year or early next year. I'm currently with T-Mobile. Guess who I'm rooting for.

As for Verizon Wireless, the largest wireless provider in terms of the number of subscribers, is trying to move to LTE as fast as it can. Second place AT&T can afford to wait it out a bit, as can T-Mobile, but VW cannot. Even now, it has the slowest 3G speed of the big four.

VW is placing it 4G bet on LTE. It hopes to have LTE up and running in 25-30 cities, covering 100 million users by the end of 2010. In real world terms, expect half that number.

This is where we are and where we can expect for the rest of 2010. Sprint and T-Mobile will be playing offense while AT&T and VW play defense for the wireless market. Coming out of CTIA, you can feel a shift how these four providers are perceived.

It is entirely conceivable that AT&T will end 2010 with the slowest wireless broadband network while Sprint chomps away at the end of the market that demands speed with T-Mobile cleaning up.

What's the immediate impact on mobile warriors? On the hardware front, I am drooling over the potential of the HTC EVO and how others, including Apple will try to catch up to what is obviously another major shift in the mobile market.

On the wireless broadband front, who doesn't like speed. Sprint and T-Mobile aren't talking about rationing or tiered access while At&T and Verizon, well, continue to talk. See, this is why we need competition. We are going to see major speed increase in the second half of 2010. With this extra bandwidth, we are likely to see apps that will take advantage of the increased speed.

For now, we wait until that happens.

More at Yahoo News. A most read that pretty summarizes some of my thoughts.

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