with Dr. Mohammad Shakouri
In exploring emerging access technologies for this month's issue, we thought we'd take some time to speak to one industry forum on the cutting edge of emerging access technologies, worldwide: The WiMAX Forum. Pipeline had a chance to speak to Dr. Mohammad Shakouri, corporate VP of Strategy at Alvarion and VP of Marketing for the WiMAX Forum.
Pipeline: Why is WiMAX an important access technology?
Shakouri: I think there are two main drivers behind the interest in and growth of the WiMAX industry. The first exists in countries that do not have broadband infrastructure. Normally the broadband infrastructure means DSL and cable. There's a big correlation between GDP growth and broadband access. Since the wired infrastructure was generally designed for telephony and the region is poor, the number of broadband connections is very little, so wireless is the only way to quickly give access. Everybody wants a standards-based and an equal system that is very wide. That's why in a lot of these emerging economies, as well as in rural parts of Australia or Europe or others, WiMAX is an actual choice. That's one main driver of WiMAX.
The second is that in countries in which the population is already using broadband, they're looking at ways of allowing that broadband to move from the house to the person. The person is going to go to work, stay at home, drive around, etc. When you look at the average person, around 40% of their time is at work, 30% is at home, and 30% is in the field. People were looking at this and trying to see how to get broadband to the person in the same way that cellular has made voice personalized. WiMAX has been an early adopter of open industry structure for broadband. You see Korea Telecom in Korea, KDDI in Japan, Sprint in the US, and the whole country of Taiwan, in terms of allocation of spectrum, all starting to build this mobile broadband infrastructure that is very complementary to cellular, but enables a different breed of gadgets and high-tech devices that are WiMAX enabled.
The two applications are very distinct and the needs are very different.
PL: Where is WiMAX finding the most market traction?
Shakouri: Actually, it's being deployed by more than 500 operators in, I believe, 67 countries. We have interest in Africa, South America, the US, Japan, etc. If you ask where the mobile WiMAX is being pushed, I would say that the leaders are Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the US. Western Europe still has