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DYNAMICS OF THE VALUE CHAIN
• Texas Instruments Inc.;
• Atmel Corp.;
• SiGe Semiconductor Inc.;
• RF Magic Inc.
There are also firms focused on providing WiMAX software to chipset developers and equipment manufacturers. Examples include SiWave Corp. and Wi-LAN Inc. (Toronto: WIN - message board). In the smart antenna space, vendors such as ArrayComm Inc. and Roke Manor Research Ltd are also involved with WiMAX.
Companies noticeable by their absence in this segment include:
• Broadcom Corp.;
• Freescale Semiconductor Inc.;
• Philips Semiconductors;
• Qualcomm Inc.;
• STMicroelectronics NV.
11.4 DYNAMICS OF THE VALUE CHAIN
In the midst of this dramatic technological change, the industry is facing significant market-side challenges. Innovative new services are proving effective in attracting subscribers and enhancing subscriber loyalty, so there is intense competition to gain first-to-market advantages.
WiMAX vendors are trying to get their products into the market at an early stage, to prevent non-WiMAX BWA solutions from gaining too strong a foothold to be dislodged. Such non-WiMAX solutions are being driven by operators who need to be increase their revenues and offset the decline in conventional telephony and Internet services by moving into high speed, data-optimized mobility. This existing demand is a powerful attractive factor for the makers of broadband wireless equipment.
Until recently, mobility was the preserve of a few specialist vendors, many of whom have now shifted into the WiMAX camp and are promising migration paths to 802.16e. Most of the long-term WiMAX players are taking mobility very seriously as the greatest opportunity of their lives.
Also hotly pursued is the promising area of CDMA and GSM network upgrades to the future mobile 802.16e specification. ‘Network-in-a-box’, which collapses the functionality of all three
STRATEGY FOR SUCCESS: EQUIPMENT VENDORS
elements (a softswitch, base station controller and mobile switching centre) elements into a single rack for GSM applications is providing a turnkey solution for carriers. This type of solution will be valuable in markets where budgets are tight, especially in rural or developing regions where populations may be sparse and carriers small.
11.5 RECOMMENDATIONS Vendors: Reducing Costs and Accelerating Time-to-market
All companies can improve their competitive position in three key ways.
• accelerating their time-to-market for next-generation solutions;
• decreasing their development costs;
• improving the ability of their solutions to scale and adapt to evolving needs.
Strategy for Success: Government and Regulators
The governments and regulators should give a high priority to ensuring that people have access to broadband services through multiple facility-based platforms. Despite its relatively small share of the broadband market, wireless broadband has substantial potential for growth, as evidenced by the growing number of people who use wireless devices, such as cell phones or Wi-Fi-enabled laptops, to connect to the Internet.
Wireless services, especially wireless broadband, are critical to the evolution of communications infrastructure, and consequently to the health of a country’s economy. Wireless is allowing users to access media, communications and computer resources and services more flexibly and is supporting the evolution of a diverse array of ‘follow-me anywhere, available everywhere, always connected’ functionalities.
Broadband wireless service has the potential to compete with wireline technologies in urban and suburban markets as a primary pipe to the home and business, to complement wireline technologies by adding a component of mobility or portability and to lead the way in rural markets where other broadband technologies are less feasible.
Taking the clue from this trend and considering the positives of wireless broadband access, authorities should demonstrate a strong commitment to facilitating wireless broadband investment and deployment, particularly through making it easier for entities to gain access to spectrum and employ new and advanced technologies that serve to provide wireless broadband to the public. They should take significant steps to facilitate the deployment of broadband wireless services.
The Business of WiMAX Deepak Pareek
© 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
STRATEGY FOR SUCCESS: GOVERNMENT AND REGULATORS
Regulators must aim to meet three general goals of increasing the availability of spectrum that can be used in the provision of broadband services, allowing maximum technical and regulatory flexibility for entities seeking to provide wireless broadband, and facilitating the development of the wireless broadband infrastructure by providing more regulatory certainty and removing regulatory disincentives.
Wireless is creating opportunities for wholly new services (e.g. distributed sensor nets, location-based services and mobile multimedia); it is enhancing the usability and lowering the costs associated with traditional computing and communications services (e.g. wireless drops to connect neighbourhood fibres to homes); and it is providing new platforms for competitive entry and new options for extending service to previously underserved communities (e.g. WISPs in rural communities).