Part 1 of WiMAX at CES focused on the themes I heard in a panel with Sprint, Motorola, Intel and others. Part 2 is based on a sit-down session I had with Motorola’s Fred Wright, an SVP for cellular networks and broadband. Not surprisingly, Part 2 is more Motorola-specific. Here is what Fred Wright had to say about WiMAX in 2008 and the years ahead.
Fred Wright on:
The people who are skeptical of WiMAX seem to believe that the technology’s success revolves around Sprint’s deployment. Motorola is very excited about the rollout, but it’s only one of 17 WiMAX contracts that Motorola has in 16 different countries. Last year was a critical year for proving what WiMAX could do. Now Motorola alone has more than 45 active WiMAX trials going on around the world.
Despite still being in the early stages of deployment, Motorola will see meaningful revenue from WiMAX this year, with acceleration in 2009. We expect the majority of Motorola’s WiMAX income to come from WiMAX access points, and expect revenue to be balanced globally among contracts in North America, EMEA, Latin America and the Asia Pacific region.
WiMAX Hardware for Consumers
Motorola has already introduced a WiMAX PC card and several WiMAX consumer premise equipment (CPE) devices. In 2008 the plan is to expand both product lines and add on WiMAX multimedia devices (formerly known as cell phones) toward the end of the year. These multimedia devices are being designed for multi-mode use with access to WiMAX and Wi-Fi networks. One will support EVDO and one will support GSM as well.
Interesting to note, most Motorola carrier customers are looking to buy CPE from Motorola and then distribute it their subscribers. However, Sprint is heavily focused on the retail model.
WiMAX and LTE
WiMAX has at least a two-year advantage over LTE, but that doesn’t mean LTE won’t be a significant business. By 2020 it’s reasonable to guess that LTE will make up 60% or more of the global market for 4G technology. In the meantime, a lot of the development work being done for WiMAX is serving two purposes. It’s the basis for today’s WiMAX deployments, but 70%-80% of it will also be applicable to LTE. Among other aspects, the same smart antenna, flex modem and core switching technology applies to both types of 4G networks.