As discussions of quad play, triple play etc are being discussed and debated, it is interesting that note that not all debates have the user at the core. Each wireless, mobile and wired services currently meets differing needs and it is unclear if studies can indeed predict the future of usage and deployment where one wins over the other. Some service provider companies are therefore betting on several technologies and deploying many technologies. Developing countries with more limited Capex are watching all this closely hoping to make choices.
Meanwhile, not all users need mobility. Many are just dealing with access issues and so wireless is a great way to get access, especially where none exists. It also helps offer ubiquity. The other issue is bandwidth requirements and again, different standards afford different bandwidth requirements, but then different users and applications need bandwidth more than others. End device costs and ease of use will also determine who needs bandwidth and mobility. The bigger the device and bigger the application, the less the requirement for mobility e.g. mobile TV over bigger TV sets rather than cellphone. Small screen size of handsets usually mean only consumption of shorter clips e.g. news rather than movies. In other words, there are many factors that determine which service is needed. I would therefore think that different users will determine differentiation of services, apps, and devices to meet different needs.
Robert Clark, contributing editor to www.americasnetwork.com, took a moment in his article “Sprint breaths new life into WiMax” to distinguish between mobile WiMax and fixed access Wi-Max. The older Wi-fi and Wi-Max standards have more to do with wirelss services (offering mainly fixed access when located at hotspots or between base stations as used by Orange). The newer standards 801.16-2005 (or 801.16e and higher), have varying degrees of limited and full mobility (mainly nomadic) added in. Sprint has announced its decision to take a $2.5 billion spending on mobile WiMax, over and above its commitment to roll out EV-DO and its related upgrades. He also makes the very interesting point that 3G bandwidth remains a voice service that carries a bit of data whilst WiMax is a data network which carries a bit of voice. WiMax deployment according to Sprint will be four times daster than 3G, and the costs are expected to be 1/10th.
(PS. Wireless access is telecommunications using radio spectrum as its means of carrying signals and within that is the subset of mobile networks, which allows for connectivity when the user is moving fast (e.g. in a car). Usually nomadic (walking pace) or fixed (at hotspots or in the home) are not as tricky as mobile. Cellular technology of having handoffs between base stations was the first technology that allowed for mobility as we know it today. So likewise, within Wi-Max standards there are only af ew built for mobility. )