Everyone interested in wireless technology is aware of the ongoing spectrum auction for a chunk of the 700 MHz frequency range. Many are surprised that the bidding is going as high as it is. Other people more qualified have ideas as to the why and wherefores, such as Alan Andrews of SnarkyBytes fame. His article “The 700 MHz auction won’t change your life as much as you wish” is quite insightful. It will be intriguing to see how these predictions shake out.
Even more interesting is why the WiMAX Forum is now getting into the act, albeit a bit late. The turn around is somewhat startling as the WiMAX Forum previously was not that interested in the 700 MHz real estate, they were focusing on the accepted international frequency spectrum of 2.3, 2.5 and 3.5 GHz. Very recently, almost breaking news in the IT world has the WiMAX Forum now commenting as quoted in the “WiMAX Forum plots for 700 MHz” article by Jim Barthold:
“The market interest has grown considerably recently to the point where the board has decided to give it some high priority and made the announcement today (at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona) that we’re going to be working hard on the technical specifications for the band, said Tim Hewitt, chairman of the Forum’s regulatory working group."
Basically this means that the WiMAX Forum will be developing specifications to support both TDD and FDD certification profiles. This is good news for chip and equipment developers as they will have common ground, which results in very little in-fighting as to what specifications the equipment needs to work with.
The winner if such is possible in the battle between 4G/LTE and WiMAX/Wi-Fi is still very nebulous. The newly garnered interest afforded by the WiMAX Forum is just another tally on the score sheet. All the main players are all still in the hunt as to which is the technology of choice. It just does not get any better than this for excitement in the IT world.