LAS VEGAS—The industry is in a capacity crunch, it’s not theoretical and it needs to be solved if the industry is going to keep up with skyrocketing demand, said Clearwire co-chairman Ben Wolff at his keynote address at CTIA Wireless 2009 this morning.
“After 20 years in this industry focusing on coverage, coverage, coverage, the rules are changing… it’s now about capacity, capacity, capacity,” said Wolff. “Today’s devices are just the beginning; data consumption will triple…My question: Can we keep up with that kind of demand?”
So how to solve it? Address four key areas: spectrum, technology, networks and devices.
“You’ve got to have adequate spectrum, …next-generation, standards-based OFDM technology using wide frequency channels, …a flat, all IP network that’s low cost, simple, built to deliver superior mobile performance and bandwidth. [You need] a wide selection of devices with low-cost 4G chipsets,” he said.
Wolff pointed to recommendations that each operator will need a minimum of 40 MHz up to 100 MHz of spectrum solely available for 4G.
“The mobile device will be the primary connection tool to the internet for most people in the world by 2020…we’ve got a lot of work to do to make sure we keep up with the demand,” he said.
Of course, no speech from a major WiMAX backer would be complete without a pitch for the technology, which is now viewed as a bit of an underdog compared to LTE. “We forget about what’s going on globally. In reality, the world is a lot bigger than the U.S.,” said Wolff. “We’ve got more than 450 deployments going on with WiMAX covering 430 million people, and we expect to double that number to 800 million people by the end of 2010.”
No matter what role WiMAX plays in the future Wolff said the future of the wireless industry is clear: “We’re blessed with the opportunities in front of us.”