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Europe Calling - An Emerging Struggle for Spectrum
|16 мая 2008|
"Necessity, who is the mother invention;" Plato said it - the WiMAX ecosystem has responded to it. WiMAX has made its mark as an enabling technology for the mobile Internet however, no necessity is currently more important for the success of WiMAX in Europe today as that of regulatory alignment.
Success for mobile WiMAX in Europe will depend largely upon the ability for operators to gain access to what is becoming an increasingly more costly investment in spectrum. Today, that slice of costly and valuable spectrum in the UK is the soon to be auctioned 2.6 GHz allocations. What's interesting about this auction is that Ofcom, the British regulator, has not imposed a typical "use it or lose it" mandate for successful bidders. Such arrangements can result in tactical blocking when spectrum is acquired but not utilized.
Ofcom's consultation document describes a total of 215 MHz of spectrum to be offered and makes specific suggestions as to potential uses - including mobile broadband services using WiMAX. Is this spectrum offering a good news story for WiMAX in the UK? Who are the likely bidders?
This particular piece of spectrum is very well suited for both fixed and mobile WiMAX deployments and may prove to be of interest to UK telecoms carrier BT. BT has been "out of the game" as a wireless carrier for the past 7 years, opting instead to spin out the operation and make use of Vodaphone's network. If BT's incoming CEO Ian Livingston's interview with the Financial Times is a real indication of intent, BT could well become one of the bidders in the 2.6 GHz auction - and one with the potential financial resources to be successful. Livingston alluded to BT returning to the mobile wireless business as well as suggesting WiMAX as a technology to allow them to do so.
While Ofcom's auction has tended to draw the focus of many industry pundits, another compelling component of WiMAX's future is unfolding in a small community of 75,000 about 50 km South East of London. Here in Maidstone, Kent, the Mobile WiMAX Acceleration Group (M-WAG) is piloting a mobile WiMAX network and applications using a 2.5 GHz experimental allocation. The 10 member consortium includes familiar players like Nortel and Alvarion and wireless broadband provider Urban WiMAX. Opportunistically proving out the viability of business cases and WiMAX technology, M-WAG warrants the attention of both UK start-ups and incumbents.
What doesn't bode particularly well for either BT or a company like Urban WiMAX, should they want to make the leap to mobile WiMAX, is the potential for spectrum "hoarding" in the upcoming auction. In the absence of an imposed "use it or lose it" policy, Ofcom's auction offers an opportunity to those with significant enough financial backing to buy and hold rather than use this valuable spectrum; either in the interests of blocking new entrants or for selling or trading later. The outcome of this auction and other upcoming offerings of 2.6 GHz spectrum throughout Europe will be key to enabling WiMAX's future there.
Источник: WiMAX Trends