Wednesday, 25 March 2009

UK Broadband to move to WiMAX...and likely to feel the squeeze

I saw this posting on Sam Knows about the fate of UK Broadband/NOW. They're planning to dump their existing TD-CDMA solution (with which they're serving subscribers in Reading and a few other towns) in favour of WiMAX.

It doesn't take a genius to work out why. Effectively they're offering a DSL-replacement service which doesn't really deliver the goods. A maximum 1Mbit/s doesn't exactly set the pulse racing these days. It looks poor compared to the HSPA offers on the market, let alone cable or DSL options. As a result of the poor proposition they've struggled to sign up customers. So they need WiMAX to pep up their offer.

Even with the move to WiMAX they'll struggle. There are 5 mobile broadband players in the UK each of which will move fairly rapidly to HSPA+ and/or LTE, technologies which can compete well with WiMAX in terms of performance. Furthermore, it's too expensive to roll out national coverage making it difficult to compete in the 'mobile' or 'nomadic' markets. WiMAX, as UK Broadband will implement it, really only works as a DSL replacement. They will limit themselves to local implementations and try (mostly unsuccessfully) to compete with DSL.


  1. Matt, what's your take on the Wave 2 approved devices that UK Broadband might pick? Since the approvals conveniently don't specify either a bits/Hz, UL/DL split or bandwidth, its almost impossible to define what the device capabilities are. This might not go down well compared to the 3GPP alternative.

    With HSPA(soon +) users know they have mobility and they have a device rating (e.g. 7.2/2.0Mbps) and an 'up to' speed from the network. With those figures (and some commonsense scaling) a user has a pretty good indication about what rate he or she might get, and if the device is better, whether there might be an upside in the future if the operator upgrades the RAN or backhaul.

  2. DSL service provider failed to provide quality service to customers. They are charging good amount but people never recived good speed or proper response from them. Dsl are switching to mobile broadband or other available option.