Mobile wimax equipment which utilize beam-forming and MIMO technologies will become available towards the end of this year. Broadband wireless deployments using pre-802.16e compliant equipment have already begun. In Korea both KT and SK Telecom have implemented mobile broadband wireless networks in specific locations throughout the country.
Equipment manufacturers are becoming increasingly active in mobile wimax. Vendors such as Samsung, Nortel Networks, Alcatel and Nokia-Siemens Networks are all involved in 802.16e projects globally. Motorola have just announced a major deal in Pakistan. Companies that have been heavily involved in operator proprietary broadband wireless implementations such as Alvarion and Proxim are also developing 802.16e compliant platforms. Various chipset providers such as Wavesat, Runcom Technologies and Beceem Communications are developing OFDMA chips and are testing their products for interoperability with solutions from other vendors. Dual mode handsets will be very popular with mobile wimax deployments with GSM/OFDMA and CDMA/OFDMA handsets dominating the market.
But there is confusion. Ericsson believe that by the year 2010 mobile wimax will account for only 5-10% of global broadband wireless revenues and are therefore more focused on broadband cellular technologies. Who is right? Availability of 2.5GHz spectrum is crucial to the success of mobile wimax particularly throughout the western world. In Europe HSPA is dominating the cellular market and this combined with the current unavailability of 2.5GHz spectrum throughout most of the continent is leading to little interest from mobile operators. In the U.S a lot of the 2.5GHz spectrum is owned by Sprint. The carrier will start its deployment by using 10MHz channels to deliver services and could use even larger bandwidths in the future.