Wireless carrier group warns against WiMAX hype

GSM claims WiMAX technology immature, proffers HSPA as viable alternative

Mobile services group the GSM Association says businesses and investors dazzled by the recent WiMAX World convention shouldn't buy into the hype just yet.

GSM said WiMAX is still in its developmental stages while High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) is delivering high-speed mobile broadband already.

"I think HSPA is one of the few recent technologies to not be overhyped," said David Pringle, the spokesman for the GSMA, a trade association that represents 700 GSM mobile phone operators. "Its effect on performance has been dramatic. It's offering wireless broadband, and it's here today."

HSPA comprises two wireless broadband protocols, High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) and High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HPUSA), that operate on 3G mobile devices. HSPDA, which can download data at 7Mbps, is used in handsets developed by companies such as AT&T, Samsung and Vodafone.

WiMAX received much attention via the recent WiMAX convention in the US, Pringle says that WiMAX's working models still can't outperform HSPA's current technology.

"We're close to developing HSPA networks that will reach speeds of 14Mbps," he said. "You don't see any early WiMAX network performing that fast. A WiMAX provider would have to build a very dense network to outperform HSPA."

Pringle said that he expects HSPA to be the dominant wireless broadband technology for at least five years, after which it might be overtaken by so-called fourth-generation" wireless technology such as Long-Term Evolution (LTE).

A study released this summer by Juniper Research backs up Pringle's point, as it projects that HSPA will "dominate" wireless broadband for the next five years, and will account for roughly 70 per cent of the mobile broadband subscriber base. Similarly, a study by Informa Telecoms and Media projects that HSDPA will account for 65 per cent of 3.5G wireless broadband subscribers worldwide.

ABI Research, meanwhile, found earlier this year that WiMAX services were a while off becoming competitive with 3G services.

"Technologies like WiMAX are still in a phase where people are speculating about what they can do," said Pringle. "Whereas in the case of AT&T, you've reached the point where all of their 3G devices have HSPA, and there are over 100 handsets that use HSPA and are available right now."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brad Reed

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?