The network infrastructure will be constructed by fellow Seven subsidiary Unwired, using equipment provided by Chinese vendor Huawei at approximately 150 base stations around Perth and will be operational around March 2010. It is expected that commercial services will be available to the entire Perth metropolitan area at launch, with further expansion expected after the service is introduced.
Unwired holds 2.3 GHz and 3.5 GHz licenses that cover 65 percent of the total Australian population, mainly in the major metropolitan centers and currently provides 2.5G wireless services in Melbourne and Sydney. It acquired its 2.3 GHz spectrum as part of a swap deal completed with fellow WiMax operator Austar in 2005. The Perth network will be the first mobile WiMax network operated by either company.
Unwired has been planning a $200m national WiMax network since 2005 and for a period around then things looked good for the company. But after the Rudd government cancelled the billion-dollar Opel project for a bush WiMax network, and a multi-million-dollar legal dispute with Intel put a halt to the company’s plans, Unwired started its descent into obscurity. Instead of digging Unwired from that mire, Seven now plans to rebirth Unwired’s WiMax network via its new Vividwireless vehicle and in one fell swoop will forgo the years of hard work and the millions of dollars spent positioning Unwired as a consumer brand.
Vivid Wireless has 90 to 98MHz spectrum in the 3.2GHz band at its disposal in metropolitan areas, and the company expects the network to offer average download speeds of 4Mbps, while peaks in excess of 20Mbps will be possible. The new company has set aside AUD50 million (USD41.9 million) for the trial project, which includes funds to allow the venture to reach a financial break-even point.
Seven has more spectrum than cellular competitors such as Optus, Vodafone and Telstra, although 3.2 GHz would lack the mobility and range of cellular. Telstra is interested in 700MHz or 2.6GHz spectrum for LTE 4G, but that cannot happen until at least 2013 under the Federal Government’s current digital TV switch-over plan.
US-based Clearwire has also announced that it has contracted with Huawei to provide wireless infrastructure for its planned nationwide WiMAX rollout. Clearwire plans to install 20,000 WiMAX base stations to achieve nationwide coverage.
Clearwire is now using a number of suppliers for the nationwide Mobile WiMAX rollout including: Motorola and Samsung for radio access network (RAN) equipment; Cisco for core Internet Protocol Network infrastructure; Ciena for base station switching; and DragonWave for the network’s microwave backhaul transport.
Rather than go with the core architectures supplied by Motorola, Samsung and Huawei, Clearwire has tapped new entrant WiChorus to provide the critical network control centers for its forthcoming WiMax deployments. The SmartCore 4G packet core platform is a network-neutral solution designed for multiple 3G and 4G data architectures, traditionally known as the access service network (ASN) gateway. It terminates all mobile sessions, authenticates and tracks users and even handles security functions.
Profile C, as defined by the Wimax forum Network Working Group (archive), stipulates an open and non-proprietary interface standard between basestations (BTS) and the internet gateway (ASN Gateway). Profile C operators are not tied into one vendor for BTS and ASN Gateway equipment.
The WiMAX Forum hopes to break the classic 2G/3G closed architecture model and standardize on Profile C. That enables operators to deploy radio and network equipment from different vendors based on a single “R6″ interface. The “open” approach allows easier handoff between different service providers who can use gear from different vendors.
Related Dailywireless articles include; Clear Launches 10 New Markets, Doubles Upload Speed, Comcast & TWC Launch Mobile WiMAX, Ciena Switches Clearwire Backhaul, WiMAX Profiles: Open, Open, Open, Mobile Supercomputing , China Mobile: TD-SCDMA to Penetrate 70% of Country, Sweden Tests LTE, Verizon LTE: 30 US Markets by 2010, Huawei: Clear Sailing on WiMAX?, and Mobile World Congress: HSPA, WiMAX & LTE Faceoff.