Monday, April 03, 2006

UK mobile 6.0

The UK is unique in having five network-based mobile operators, but I guess these tough times for the existing players may look like the good old days by around 2009. Pipex today announced formation of a partnership, called Pipex Wireless, with Intel Capital (who are kicking in $25m) to roll with WiMax in London and Manchester in 2007, and the other six top population centers by 2008.

UPDATE: The very prolific Disruptive Dean has a typically interesting and worthwhile post on the deal here.

UPDATE 2: In response to this post and a subsequent one on Iliad's WiMax aspirations, a Palladium Club mega-uber value reader writes in to say:

"If I were a UK or French mobile player, an operator with:

Spectrum at 3.6 GHz
Mobile Wimax handsets that will only be available in 2008 (laptop cards next year, admittedly)

a date when MNOs will have:

75%+ pop coverage of HSDPA, delivering (real world) speeds of over a megabit/sec with decent latency with handsets that look like the RAZR but with decent battery life (HSDPA is to 3G as GPRS was to GSM in terms of ease of implementation)

...wouldn't be top of my list of worries. I'd spend more time thinking about (for example) the effect of lower termination rates on people's ability to offer US-style 'big bundles' and thereby drive down voice pricing."

For the sake of clarity, I never meant to suggest that WiMax alone is going to topple the incumbent players, but rather is an incremental source of pain. I just took it as read that, given the recent coverage of termination and roaming regulation, that was something I didn't need to dwell on.

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