By Jeff Goldman
July 12, 2004
Sure, it’s not really true ‘WiMax’ yet, but that’s not stopping Alvarion’s from providing equipment for what it calls a multi-year rollout of wireless broadband in Latin America.
Following its launch last month of the BreezeMAX platform, Alvarion and Millicom Argentina announced last week week that Millicom will be launching what the company called “the first WiMax network in Latin America” during the months of September to December of this year.
Carlton O’Neal, Alvarion’s Vice President of Marketing, admits that it may be premature to be calling it WiMax. Carriers, he says, are eager to say they have WiMax networks, even when the equipment can’t yet be certified. “They’re going to say that because they’re trying to make the term WiMax like the term Kleenex for facial tissue,” he says.
Ultimately, O’Neal says he’d prefer that carriers work harder to clarify the difference between pre-WiMax and certified WiMax systems. “We’re trying to do the straight shooter model to lead the whole industry to interoperable solutions,” he says. “In the meantime, though, there will be some use by carriers of the term WiMax in what I would call a more generic sense.”
Millicom’s announcement was also made in conjunction with Intel , despite the fact that the current equipment doesn’t include an Intel chip. That, O’Neal says, is further indication of the fact that this announcement is only the beginning. “Intel will be involved in this, because networks roll out over multiple years,” he says. “The announcement is about the start of the rollout, not the end of it.”
Still, there is a danger of causing confusion in the industry when you call pre-certified equipment WiMax. O’Neal acknowledges that announcement like Millicom’s can add to that confusion, but he says carriers’ eagerness to deploy the equipment outweighs such concerns. “The reason that we’re selling it is because people have business cases for it,” he says.