One of the biggest boosts for HSDPA adoption came when Huawei introduced its E220 USB dongle modem in mid-2006. It enabled operators to have a lower cost device than previous PC cards, in a form that retailers and users intuitively understood. Variants have now shipped 10m+ units, and have massively expanded the market for mobile broadband into the consumer segment.
So the certification last week of a 15Mbit/s Mobile WiMAX variant of the iconic Huawei device is an important milestone. It's intended for the 2.5-2.6GHz band, so must be a contender for a US launch as well as future European & Asian rollouts.
It's not the first USB WiMAX modem - Airspan and Posdata have them as well, and there's even a Xohm-branded one from Chinese rival ZTE. Samsung's got one coming as well.
But given their track record of ramping up volumes, plus their enviable record at signing up distribution channels, the advent of the Huawei device signals to me that WiMAX is due to have one of its periodic upswings in confidence over the next few months.
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