Thursday, October 11, 2007

700MHz vs. WiMAX

While speculation runs rampant that Sprint may cut back or cancel its WiMAX deployment, AT&T ( signaled it intends to do something in the RF “beachfront property” – 700 MHz spectrum.

Earlier this week, AT&T announced it would buy the largest current holder of 700 MHz licenses in the U.S., Aloha Partners. AT&T will pay $2.5 billion in cash for the licenses and will obtain 12 MHz of spectrum covering 196 million people. The licenses cover all of the top 10 markets in the US and 72 of the top 100 U.S. markets, with a focus on former UHF TV channels 54 and 59.

Aloha was in the process of conducting several market trials and all of the 700 MHz spectrum it has purchased will be available for use after the DTV transition date in February 2009; in some area UHF TV stations are still operating either on or near the spectrum that Aloha had the rights for.

The 700 MHz band is frequently described as “beachfront property” for its ability to propagate through buildings and other obstacles, as well as its longer range when compared to other spectrum in U.S. A major metropolitan area that would require many 2.5 GHz WiMAX transmission sites could be served by one or two 700 MHz sites, depending upon geography and transmission power.

Meanwhile, Sprint is being pressed by Wall Street investors and analysts to cut back or shut down its WiMAX rollout. The no-WiMAX-camp wants Sprint to focus on being a cellular company, but others point out that without new products, Sprint has little new to offer customers in a time where cellular phone sales have leveled off in the United States. Both Intel and Motorola have committed substantial resources to deploying WiMAX equipment and Intel has also invested substantial money into second-largest U.S. WiMAX provider Clearwire.

In the end, Sprint may have no other strategic choice than to continue with their WiMAX deployment because they may not have the resources necessary to engage in aggressive bidding in the final round of 700 MHz auctions scheduled in January 2008. Sprint could have a fully deployed 4G WiMAX network deployed, operational, and with paying customers in 2008, while the 700 MHz spectrum won’t be fully “clear” until the DTV switchover in 2009

© yankandpaste® from :

Orginal By Doug Mohney

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