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Industry News

Sprint-Clearwire Split No Threat to WiMAX for M2M, says ABI Research

December 13, 2007
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The recent statement by Sprint and Clearwire announcing the end of their proposed WiMAX partnership may have sent shudders through planners hoping that WiMAX will facilitate machine-to-machine (M2M) communications in the future. But according to ABI Research, there’s no need to get nervous.

In a recent press release, Philip Solis, ABI Research’s chief WiMAX analyst, noted, “At present, both companies are continuing with their own mobile WiMAX networks, with various options still open.” The firm’s faith in the potential of WiMAX to re-shape the global telecommunications industry remains unshaken, and the same applies to its M2M potential.

“The breakdown of the Sprint-Clearwire deal may have some near-term effect in retarding WiMAX in general,” adds senior M2M analyst Sam Lucero, “but we believe that Sprint and Clearwire are both going to deploy their networks, that WiMAX is going to be a significant 4G technology in general, and that unless it drops WiMAX altogether, Sprint in particular is committed to WiMAX as its M2M technology of choice.”

WiMAX makes sense for M2M because of its spectral efficiency, greater even than that of EVDO, Sprint’s CDMA technology. To the extent that M2M end-points are out there and enabled and need infrastructure support, carriers will find M2M more economically feasible via WiMAX than over CDMA.

Lucero adds, “Sprint has also made the point to me that in their view WiMAX as a mainstream M2M technology in the United States is still 2-4 years off. That’s another reason why Sprint and Clearwire parting ways will not be significant in the long run.”

Meanwhile, 3G is the most advanced technology available for M2M applications, and a recent ABI Research study, “3G Machine-To-Machine (M2M) Communications,” (http://www.abiresearch.com/products/market_research/3G_Machine-To- Machine_M2M_Communications) examines the market for cellular 3G M2M from the perspective of cellular embedded module vendors, and analyzes the impact that WiMAX and municipal Wi-Fi will have on market development.

It forms part of three ABI Research Services, M2M (http://www.abiresearch.com/products/service/M2M_Research_Service), Mobile Devices (http://www.abiresearch.com/products/service/Mobile_Devices_Research _Service), and Mobile Operators (http://www.abiresearch.com/products/service/Mobile_Operators_Research _Service), which include other Research Reports, Research Briefs, Online Databases and Market Data, ABI Vendor Matrices, and analyst inquiry support.

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