Executive Briefing

WiMax raises its profile

With Ben Feinman, director of product management at MobiTV [www.mobitv.com]. MobiTV recently announced its support for WiMax.

Question: Is the environment between carriers competitive or complementary?

Feinman: All the operating companies -- fixed broadband, cable, DSL or wireless -- are being forced by economic pressure and consumer demand to consolidate. Sprint is teaming with the cable MSOs, AT&T with the acquisition of Cingular, Verizon with Verizon Wireless. I don't think it's competitive; it's actually complementary. There will be downward pricing pressure, a consolidation of the industry.


Question: A service such as MobiTV takes advantage of a lot of emerging networking. What kinds of services and applications are possible?

Feinman: Integrated services are cheaper -- and are also more [able to support each other]. This is where it gets sexy. Right now, [customers'] experience is in an office with LAN connection, a PC, a wireless device and a set-top box [at home]. The experience is pretty disconnected… [In the future] let's say I start a conversation in the car and park at home. The network notices the nearby Wi-Fi connection, it switches the call to VoIP, which is backhauled via WiMax. I then walk into the house … pop on a video game and transfer to an in-game audio conversation. I say [to my friend] that I have a new album that I'd love

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to share. Our goal is to own the media slice of that. We are already seeing glimmers of that today. All these companies are coming together, but have disparate systems.


Question: Can a service such as MobiTV operate across all these networks?

Feinman: We are network agnostic. We have never met a network we don't like. We have chosen to support WiMax for a couple of reasons. It's very, very high speed. You are going to get very high data rates. It's bidirectional. We [also] use 3G today. Our philosophy is the highest-quality, lowest-cost routing. What you have are big companies with lots of marketing dollars. When the war breaks out, you can either fight or make bullets. We're making bullets.


This 3 Questions originally appeared in a weekly report from IT Business Edge.


This was first published in September 2006

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