D-Link and Beceem to push mobile WiMAX to the shelves

D-Link and Beceem announced a partnership this week that will see the network equipment vendor sell a range of mobile WiMAX products based on Beceem’s new chipset.

The WiMAX market has had another boost this week with network equipment provider D-Link announcing it will base a range of products on Beceem's mobile WiMAX chipset.

D-Link will sell mobile WiMAX network gear based on the Beceem BCS200 chipset, under the D-Link brand to Mobile WiMAX subscribers around the world from the start of 2008.

Beceem VP of Business Development Lars Johnsson believes D-Link's market entrance is a significant step for the Mobile WiMAX terminal market.

"This marks the entrance of one of the premier consumer and enterprise networking brands into the Mobile WiMAX market. Brand companies like D-Link typically develop products for immediate sales opportunities, so their market entrance is a solid indicator that demand for WiMAX products will heat up in 2008," he said.

Johnsson thinks the traditional wireless business model is changing with consumers increasingly able to buy product 'off-the-shelf' products, then go home and connect to a network.

"This is much different from the 'old days' when service providers were selling terminals directly to end users carrying the inventory burden and often failing to ensure that their vendors provided truly competitive state of the art products," he said.

"Sprint is a great proponent of this 'embedded business model' and we believe that WiMAX can deliver devices with built in connectivity easier and better than other technologies, targeting mobile computing, multimedia and entertainment."

Although it has been slow to develop, WiMAX spectrum is increasingly available worldwide. In addition to Korea, Taiwan and the US, 2GHz spectrum is also available for WiMAX deployments in Brazil, Mexico, Russia and is currently being auctioned off in Japan. As of 2008 it will also be widely available in India and the UK. There is also a large amount of 3GHz spectrum available around the world.

In Australia, a number of ISP's including Unwired and Austar are supplying WiMAX services.

Johnsson is optimistic about this growing global spectrum footprint.

"It sets the stage for significant shipment volumes, which is key to drive down the cost of subscriber equipment, which in turn will increase the appeal of Mobile WiMAX both in markets where it is used primarily for internet access as well as in markets where it is used as a mobile broadband compliment to 3G based wireless voice services," he said.

D-Link ANZ Marketing Director Maurice Famularo, said that the WiMAX market in Australia is still in early days, and the company is still determining how best to supply and support, both the products and their resellers.

Although Famularo agrees that there is a global market demand for WiMAX and mobility products, he is less optimistic about whether the time is right for delivering these and whether the carriers in Australia are ready.

Famularo said the product roadmaps are still being finalised, but there will be various products around the chipset.

A study earlier this month by ABI Research projected that the number of WiMAX subscribers will grow substantially by 2012, as roughly 95 million CPE users and 200 million mobile device users will be using the technology.

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Dahna McConnachie

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