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Monday, September 22, 2008

Huawei WiMAX dongle certified

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.


Paul said...

Curious that there are no Motorola Certified Devices, only a base station?

I only found 36 'subscriber-station' products of which only 16 appear to be 16e/16-2005/Mobile Wimax devices, including a couple of Fixed-Wireless reference designs. Hardly a groundswell of popular support.

7 USB and PC-Cards certified will not scare HSPA operators already delivering equivalent speeds and already at a 'disposable' price-point with current volumes.

Upswells in confidence can't mask the continued absence from the market of the Intel/Motorola investment vehicle that is Clearwire/Sprint. Launch 12 months ago would have pitched it against HSPA networks - at 7.2 Mbps - in their relative infancy. Now they are mature, proven, loaded and 21Mbps is on the horizon. Where is the (positive) distictness to WiMax?

Dean Bubley said...


Bear in mind that WiMAX certifications have only started relatively recently.

And based on the recent 3G iPhone experience in the US, it isn't clear that the HSPA networks are *that* mature yet in North America. It's also notable that the popular cheap consumer 3G-dongle proposition hasn't yet exploded in NA, compared with places like South Africa, Swede, Austria etc.

I agree that in Western Europe, it'll be much more of a tough proposition - I don't see WiMAX easily competing with incumbents' mobile broadband & retail presence, especially given the slow pace of 2.5GHz spectrum auctions.