WiMax raises its profile

The director of product management at vendor MobiTV talks about the current status of WiMAX and his company's service.

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 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.

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