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Industry News

MVNO Model Opens New WiMAX Possibilities

WiMAX Environment May Welcome Virtual Operators

December 13, 2007
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The new Strategy Analytics report, “WiMAX MVNOs: Just Crazy Enough to Work?” depicts scenarios that show that the WiMAX environment may actually prove to be more receptive to the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) business model than the cellular world.

Earlier this year, Synterra, one of the largest Russian providers of telecommunications infrastructure and Internet access, invited regional telecoms to partner on an MVNO basis to offer WiMAX services, using Synterra’s spectrum and backbone infrastructure. “This sort of risk- and investment-sharing makes sense for WiMAX operators,” notes Tom Elliott, Vice President at Strategy Analytics and author of the report. “If Sprint winds up staying in WiMAX, they may duplicate their wholesale business model from the CDMA space to WiMAX.”

According to the report, the WiMAX community’s history of open architecture and a broad supplier ecosystem may help WiMAX MVNO’s in the key area of consumer devices. “Cellular MVNOs, especially in the US, tend to have very limited handset portfolios,” says Ben Piper, Director of the Strategy Analytics Broadband Network Strategies service. “A WiMAX MVNO could, in principle, let their customers use any WiMAX-certified device they wanted to.”

Traditional cellular MVNOs have had a decidedly mixed record. In addition to examining the traditional MVNO play and the factors influencing their success or failure, this report identifies specific reasons why the WiMax world might be more conducive to MVNOs.

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