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Wireless Broadband Focus Shifts to Mobile Sector

The focus of wireless broadband, and in particular WiMAX has now shifted towards the area of mobility, although there will still be some opportunities in the fixed broadband markets.

WiMAX is well suited to the mobile sector as the future of wireless/mobile rests very much with 'personal broadband' - where broadband is delivered to individual personal devices which are enabled for mobility.

In terms of developments, after years of waiting, the WiMAX standard was finally ratified in late 2005 and by early 2006 the first certified products entered the market.

However, it will not be until 2009 that more commercial viable services will become available.

It is however becoming more and more apparent that wireless broadband is much better suited for the delivery of mobile data and this infrastructure also has better potential for the delivery of VoIP.

These are two reasons why wireless broadband could start challenging 3G in the next decade. 3G is obsolete in terms of being able to deliver a business model that offers affordable mass market wireless broadband services - and all roads will eventually lead to IP based 4G.

Both WiMAX and 3G HSPA (the latter one through the LTE technology) can be used to move towards 4G, somewhere around 2012.

While WiMAX is still trying to get a foothold in the market, the mobile operators are moving forward and employing HSPA for 3G networks; the latest addition in the long list of mobile data technologies.

While the capabilities are impressive, the high user charges of the services on offer are inhibiting its business potential.

Interestingly however, under the pressure of capped mobile prices there is a significant increase in data traffic both over 2G and 3G networks, indicating that the key to mobile data and wireless broadband is 'communications', rather than portals or PSMS.

Under these newly emerging business models users are mainly using these services for email and Internet access.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.