WiMax gets thumbs-up in Southeast Asia

Tech-savvy users in Southeast Asia are aware of WiMax and favor its deployment in their cities, finds a Motorola survey.

SINGAPORE--The bulk of IT users in Southeast Asian cities are acquainted with WiMax and want the technology for personal Internet access connectivity, finds a Motorola survey.

Results from a recent month-long online survey conducted by the communications equipment maker revealed that close to 100 percent of the respondents across the Southeast Asian region "has some awareness of what WiMax is", Ray Owen, head of technology of Network and Enterprises at Motorola Asia, said at a media briefing Wednesday. Motorola polled 1,388 "tech-savvy" individuals who average 25 years of age.

"Clearly, there's momentum, not just from an operator or a vendor's point of view, but also a consumer's point of view with WiMax," Own added.

Of the 99.2 percent of respondents surveyed who want WiMax in their metropolitan areas, nearly half of them--45.5 percent--want WiMax for the convenience of personal broadband, so that they can have one broadband Internet connection at home, at work or anywhere.

"Consumers want access to broadband as they do their mobile phones," said Jay Andersen, vice president of South and East Asia sales for Networks and Enterprise at Motorola. "The future of broadband will no longer be associated with the premise but with the individual."

According to the Motorola survey, mobile connectivity was the second most favored use of WiMax, as slightly over 33 percent of the respondents indicated a desire for persistent connection while on the move.

In Motorola's poll, notebooks and tablet PCs topped the list of devices that respondents--42 percent--want equipped with WiMax capabilities, while mobile phones or smart phones followed closely at 30.2 percent, and desktop PCs were last at 15.6 percent. In addition, the study revealed that there was less demand for devices, such as in-car navigation/entertainment systems, smart home appliances, and video gaming consoles, to be equipped with WiMax.

Growing WiMax
WiMax is spreading its wings across the Asia-Pacific region.

South Korea commercially deployed its mobile WiMax--also referred to as WiBro--in June last year, while Bangladesh's Agni Systems launched a phased deployment of its mobile WiMax network in its capital Dhaka in December 2006, which will be gradually rolled out to other metropolitan cities.

Earlier this year, Pakistan's Wateen Telecom rolled out its WiMax network based on the 802.16e standard across 17 major cities in the country.

In Japan, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication (MIC) announced this week plans to issue two licenses for the 2.5 GHz spectrum in the country, according to WiMAX Day. In addition, MIC said it will not award the licenses to existing telecommunications companies such as Softbank, KDDI or NTT DoCoMo, but instead plans to award the spectrum to new entrants to the market which can offer services nation-wide. Willcom and Acca Networks were initially identified by MIC as such potential recipients of the spectrum allocation.

In a separate briefing this week, Gary Willihnganz, general manager of Asia-Pacific marketing for Intel's Branding Promotions and Marketing Group, said notebooks equipped with the latest Santa Rosa platform support modules have WiMax capability built with Intel chips. Users can also tap into any of the WiMax networks that are being piloted across Asia with an optional WiMax card based on the Intel chip.

He added that with the growing adoption of the WiMax technology, "more robust" WiMax-equipped solutions can be expected in 2008.