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WiMAX coming to Russia in 2008

Russian fixed line operator Comstar said Wednesday that it has tapped Intel to help it build out a mobile WiMAX network in the Moscow region.

Comstar, which is majority owned by Sistema, the Russian conglomerate which also runs leading mobile carrier MTS, said it plans to launch the network before the end of 2008.

The company said that it will initially focus on launching a WiMAX network in the Moscow region as it is the best suited area in Russia for adopting new wireless technologies.

The network, based on the IEEE 802.16e standard in the 2.5-2.7GHz range, will cover the whole city and Intel will provide end user gadgets with embedded WiMAX.

Intel is currently developing embedded mobile WiMAX platforms for notebook PCs and ultra mobile internet devices. By mid 2008, the company is expected to launch its first embedded mobile WiMAX/wifi module, codenamed ‘Echo Peak’. Another platform with low power consumption, aimed at for mobile internet devices and codenamed ‘Baxter Peak,’ is also expected to be available next year.

Sriram Viswanathan, vice president of Intel Capital and general manager of Intel’s WiMAX Program Office, said: “The effort between Comstar and Intel to bring mobile WiMAX to the people of Russia underscores the cost, performance and capability of this technology to give people a truly mobile Internet experience. The commitment to build mobile WiMAX networks continues to grow globally and we expect to see initial deployments in a number of markets starting in 2008 and growing throughout 2009 and beyond.”

A report released by industry analysts Juniper Research on Tuesday forecasts that Mobile WiMAX 802.16e will begin to take off over the 2010 to 2013 period, exceeding 80 million subscribers globally by 2013.

Juniper analyst Howard Wilcox said: “We are seeing more and more Mobile WiMAX 802.16e trials and network contracts – over 50 have been announced so far in 2007 alone: the market is very active in all regions of the world. We anticipate that mobile usage will develop after initial demand for fixed and portable services – WiMAX 802.16e is a flexible platform that can operate in all three modes of usage.”

Wilcox said mobile WiMAX will represent a single digit proportion of the global mobile broadband base by 2013. “This will be a tremendous achievement for this new technology platform which has recently been boosted by the ITU’s endorsement of it as an IMT2000 specification,” he added.


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