Maxis, Motorola to pilot mobile WiMax

Trial will be the first in Kuala Lumpur to provide residential wireless broadband connectivity through a mobile WiMax network.

Malaysian mobile operator Maxis said it has commenced a live trial of mobile WiMax in Kuala Lumpur.

According to a media statement released Monday, the mobile operator said it has partnered with US-based WiMax equipment maker Motorola to provide full wireless connectivity and access to residential broadband users in the capital city.

Powered by Motorola's mobile WiMax technology, the live trial will be conducted at four sites in downtown Kuala Lumpur, including the Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC). The trial is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2007.

Maxis said it is using the trial to assess WiMax's traffic channeling capabilities as well as to measure the real-world performance of Motorola's WiMax equipment.

The mobile operator said it will closely monitor wireless activity at the four trial sites through an Element Management System (EMS) portal as it evaluates the full mobility and performance of Motorola's mobile WiMax technology in the 2.3GHz, 2.5GHz and 3.5GHz frequency bands.

WiMax is considered a promising next-generation wireless technology because of its long transmission reach and ability to support high data rates. It is also believed to be cheaper than comparable cellular technology because it requires fewer network elements.

Nikolai Dobberstein, senior general manager for products and new businesses, Maxis Communications, sees mobile WiMax as playing a critical role in the company's wireless broadband strategy.

"We see mobile WiMAX as an essential and complementary service to our ongoing HSDPA deployment due to its progressive capacity management capabilities for high broadband traffic," said Dobberstein in a press statement.

Maxis, which also runs a nationwide third-generation (3G) cellular network in Malaysia, is not the only operator with ambitions of launching a long-distance wireless broadband service. Last year, rival operator Jaring introduced its own WiMax service in the country's Klang Valley.

Along with companies like Intel and Alcatel, Motorola is a big advocator of WiMax and has been a major driving force for the technology in terms of development and promotion.

In 2006, the US-based equipment maker bought Orthogon Systems, which specializes in wireless broadband technology, to enhance its own wireless broadband portfolio of product.

Motorola has also met with a certain degree of success in selling the WiMax technology to mobile operators in other parts of Asia. Last year, the company won a nationwide contract to deploy a mobile WiMax networks in Pakistan. It has also started a phased WiMax deployment with Agni Systems to provide wireless broadband access in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.

According to market research company In-Stat, the Asia-Pacific WiMax equipment market will rake in revenues worth US$1.9 billion in 2009.

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