GoingWiMAX.com had the pleasure of interviewing Kelvin Lee, Senior General Manager of Green Packet Berhad. He highlighted Greenpacket’s latest home WiMAX modems along with his take on the future of the WiMAX industry.
1. How do the latest modems differ from the ones Greenpacket released at the WiMAX Forum Congress Americas in December 09?
The EX series is a part of our cost-effective range of WiMAX modems that specifically caters to the residential market segment which according to 4GCounts, accounts for 68% of WiMAX subscribers.
This is why the EX series is engineered to fulfill the fundamental broadband need of home users by offering one LAN and one VoIP port. Single users do not need to pay for what they do not use. However, they are still empowered with a choice of connecting a router to the modem if they need more ports.
There is also cosmetic difference between the EX series and the DX and UH series that we launched last December.
The benefits of our new cost-effective range also extend to Operators as they now have an option to lower their subscriber acquisition cost and the flexibility to expand their service offerings for diverse market segments.
It has to be highlighted that being cost-effective does not mean that the performance of the new modems is compromised in any way. The cost-effective range is still fully geared towards the delivery of high quality wireless broadband through the little attention to detail we put in that makes a huge difference. For example, WiMAX Forum specifies a level of receiver sensitivity and Greenpacket’s EX modems surpasses that mark by 7.5dBm.
2. What market segment are you targeting with the release of these new modems?
The EX range is targeted at Operators requiring basic modems as the cost for it is effective in reducing their OPEX for mass WiMAX rollout. This includes the pre-paid market segment for residential use. The EX range would also allow Operators to create packages that are price sensitive or create a wider range of packages to suit different connectivity needs of their customers.
3. Can you highlight the new features and capabilities of your latest modem?
Featuring data and voice ports, the EX series deliver superior indoor performance. This is possible via a high gain antenna which improves the reception of WiMAX signals, multi-directional omni antenna which allows flexibility of device placement and, Switched Transmit Diversity Technology which selects the best antenna to use to boost the uplink signal strength performance during transmission.
There is also an option for an external antenna.
4. In January, you set the objective of increasing shipments by at least three times the amount than in 2009. Where are you on that?
As a business unit of a public listed company, we are not allowed to disclose our shipment numbers before the Group’s quarterly financial announcement. Green Packet Group will be announcing the first quarter financial results in mid May and we shall keep you informed on the results and numbers.
5. Which region of the world (United States, Central America, APAC, Africa, Europe…) is your business growing the fastest? Can you give us a background on this international presence?
Greenpacket has been successfully growing our business and customer base in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East region. This year however, we are gaining strong traction in the US and European markets.
Currently, we have eight offices worldwide including R&D centres, device development centers and regional sales offices. Our regional sales offices are located in Bahrain, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and Thailand to service our customers in the respective regions. However, we have doubled our sales force in the USA, Central and Latin America (CALA), and Europe.
6. What’s Greenpacket’s vision for the future of WiMAX?
WiMAX is a sunrise industry with a rapidly growing global traction. The WiMAX industry now is huge with increased population coverage and more devices developing to support the technology. The WiMAX Forum is now tracking 599 WiMAX deployments in 147 countries; there are new deployments every month. Population covered by WiMAX technology has also increased to 621 million by end 2009 and is further anticipated to grow to 800 million by end 2010.
We see WiMAX as an excellent ‘saviour technology’ in view of increasing network congestion due to increasing data traffic. WiMAX can be a latter (receiving) network for legacy telcos to support data offloading.
Many industry analysts have compared WiMAX and LTE which they see as a direct competition to WiMAX. However, WiMAX however is about four years ahead of LTE, giving it a window during which consumer and market expectations are changing. We do believe that some Telcos will choose to wait until LTE is available and only then invest in costly network upgrades, which will in time bring them to parity with WIMAX enabled networks. Others will choose a hybrid model, leveraging the superior functionality and the immediate availability of WIMAX to supplement their current network to offer a broader range of products and services to its customers and alleviate current network congestion.
Those that choose a hybrid model will have first-mover advantage over the other legacy players, giving them the necessary edge in a highly competitive environment.
Greenpacket also sees WIMAX as a driver of converged technologies leading to a different communications business model encompassing an entirely new range of end-user devices and services. WiMAX allows a limitless range of devices to be permanently connected.
While the application of this to mobile phones, PDAs and PCs is perhaps more familiar, the opportunity goes way beyond that. Image a world where your camera or even your car is permanently online, or where cargo, products and equipment are permanently connected to a network. That’s beauty and future of WiMAX!