Anacom authorizes the use of PT’s FWA frequencies to test WiMax

COLLAB distinguished with the APDC / Siemens Innovation Award

Anacom authorized PT Comunicações to use its FWA frequencies to carry out «technical tests» on WiMax wireless technology. The regulator’s authorization is the result of an operator request and does not affect the future use or authorization of the technology, a statement explains.

According to the document «there is no obligation or condition for future authorization of this type of system in Portugal», explains Anacom, adding that the authorization does not interfere with the ongoing consultation process with the FWA, nor with the «rights of use that may result «from that process.

The regulator assumes, however, that it is following the discussions on technology closely, with an emphasis on debates on technical issues and the regulatory framework of technology. Regarding a possible introduction of technology in Portugal, the statement clarifies that the decision «will take into account the harmonized solutions that may emerge from this debate, particularly in Europe».

WiMax is a standard wireless broadband, seen as a successor to Wi-Fi as it offers greater bandwidth and ensures greater coverage. This technology, approved in 2002, offers up to 124 Mbps of bandwidth and a coverage range of between 50 and 70 kilometers – against 54 Mbps of Wi-Fi for 120 meters of coverage – has been seen as an option for ensure the last mile to the customer’s home, or an alternative to fixed network technologies, to cover remote areas, where investment in physical infrastructure is not justified. In relation to Wi-Fi, WiMax has as main advantages greater coverage and less complexity in terms of connection to the physical infrastructure.

At the industry level, the technology is already being tested by several companies, with emphasis on Intel, which has made significant investments to accelerate its introduction in the market. The semiconductor company, which was also one of the most interested in the development of Wi-Fi, developed the first WiMax processor on the market, which it has already made available to manufacturers, and invests in partnerships for the development of compatible products.

Despite these efforts and the completion of the process of standardization of standard, in its fixed component, there is some expectation as to whether WiMax will ever take the place that many consultants have come up with, as a direct competitor of 3G and DSL and in some cases a substitute, since several other technologies are being tested and may occupy this place. Among these, Flash OMD stands out, another technology wireless already licensed by Siemens and under test by T-Online, which however offers less bandwidth.

The latest available studies are, however, optimistic and predict the arrival of the WiMax market – with stabilized technology and available products – as early as next year, an introduction that will occur first in Europe and Asia, reveals a study by Parks Associates. The same study predicts that in 2009 this market will become interesting, accumulating 7 million users.

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2004-12-13 – WiMax will compete directly with DSL and 3G

2004-10-26 – Intel boosts interest in WiMax technology with investment in Clearwire

2004-10-11 – Siemens licenses Flash-OMD technology

2004-07-26 – Products supported by WiMax will arrive in Europe first but not before 2006