Mobile operators urged to prepare for WiMax threat

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Mobile operators urged to prepare for WiMax threat

In-Stat warns that technology could become ally or foe.

The impact of WiMax on the mobile telephony industry could be profound, and carriers need to put together strategies concerning the wide area wireless technology now, industry experts urged today.

In-Stat warned existing cellular carriers that WiMax may become a big competitor. However, the analyst firm conceded that the technology could also be a great ally, or a minor factor for established mobile operators. 

"WiMax faces many challenges, including multiple incompatibility standards, different frequency allocations in each country, and expensive consumer devices, " said In-Stat analyst Allen Nogee.

"But fixed-line WiMax is here, and mobile WiMax will be arriving in the next few years."

A newly published In-Stat report predicted that voice over WiMax will not start affecting mobile operators much before 2009.

The study noted that there are many "profiles" in different regions of the world, meaning that WiMax devices will almost certainly operate differently in different regions unless device manufacturers are willing to accept extra expenses to make a universal WiMax device that supports all profiles.

When WiMax competes with mobile telephony, cellular operators will be forced to lower their prices for wireless data services over existing mobile infrastructures.

Even if WiMax fails after that point, it is unlikely that cellular carriers will ever again be able to charge the amount they currently do for wireless data services, In-Stat predicted.
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