WiMAX goes 3.5GHz as questions arise over India

Could all frequencies up to 5GHz one day be used for mobile broadband?

The first WiMAX products to be certified for use in the 2.3GHz band have been unveiled by infrastructure vendors Samsung and Huawei.

The two companies are the first vendors to receive the WiMAX Forum Certified Seal of Approval for the MIMO 2.3 GHz profile, allowing the creation of tri-band (2.3, 2.5 and 3.5GHz) products. The first bits of kit to be released are WiMAX base stations designed by the two firms.

According to Ron Resnick, president and chairman of the WiMAX Forum, the 2.3GHz spectrum band is increasingly important due to the recent licensing of BWA spectrum in India, where it is hoped that WiMAX services will create new opportunities and generate jobs for millions of people while closing the digital divide gap in rural areas.

Some of those dreams may have been dashed however, with the recent news that Infotel, bought this week by Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, is looking to run with TD-LTE. With fellow licence winner Qualcomm also pushing LTE too, it looks like it will be left to some of the smaller licensees to carry WiMAX deployments out in India.

There is also hope for the technology in Thailand though. Earlier this week the Thai telecoms regulator began steps to introduce licenses for wireless broadband technologies, including WIMAX, in September. The 3GHz and 2.5GHz frequencies have been earmarked for this purpose, but procedural delays which have so far scuppered efforts to introduce and drive 3G services may also set back the licensing of 4G spectrum by months or even years.

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  • Samsung Electronics

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