The clock is ticking in the Taylor household – ticking away toward the time when the family finds a new wireless family plan.
Trapped by a cellular contract that seemingly extends every time you make a change, we’re ready to make big changes. The oldest is going off to college and wants to get a serious, hotter phone (I won’t let him change his worn-out model that has been beaten down by 9,000 texts per month because it would extend our agreement or cost too much right now). The youngest is about to come online and join the rest of the family in the mobile age. The middle child is starting to become enamored with the smartphones his friends are displaying. And my wife – well, she’s of the generation that is still figuring out all the features of the phone she got two years ago.
What does Dad want? I’m in the tech business and have been helping in one way or another to build WiMAX for four years. I’m ready for some serious speed in the palm of my hand.
I’m starting the research now as we near the end of July when we are finally freed from the shackles of our current contract. If my recent research is any indication, it’s going to be tougher than I hoped to land what I want.
Let’s start first with my area’s WiMAX service providers, Clearwire and Sprint (which, of course, is really Clearwire with a Sprint wrapper). In short, the only alternatives are 4G modems and dongles. A great way to get started, but not what I’m looking for.
Unfortunately, I don’t live in one place I know offers a WiMAX-GSM dual mode handset. That would be Russia, where WiMAX pioneer operator Yota will sell you the HTC Max 4G. It would be great to have the desired phone with some real-life experience behind it, but I’m not looking to move to Russia.
I’ve been scouring the news from the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, looking for signs of WiMAX-GSM duality, and I’ve found a couple of choices. Ixi Mobile and Runcom have announced their partnership to develop the Ogo CC-10 GSM-WiMAX handset. According to Ixi’s CTO, Yair Shapira, the companies are expecting orders for delivery starting in 2Q10. That’s a little tight for my late July deadline, and certainly no guarantee that the phone will be picked up by Clearwire/Sprint. One would hope, though, that in the new Clearwire business model, you could buy a phone elsewhere and use it on their network.
Another alternative announced in Barcelona: Comsys Mobile and HelloSoft have announced a low cost Android WiMAX, GSM and WiFi reference design for ODM/OEM usage in quickly bringing devices to market. The Comsys ComMAX® CM1125 multimode WiMAX/GSM communication processor recently completed infrastructure IOT with Clearwire. Impressive, but still not soon enough for my timeline.
So while I will continue searching, I’m resigned to two facts. First, a WiMAX-GSM handset probably won’t be available when I ideally need it, and second, if we stick together on a family plan, my needs are probably not going to drive the result anyway.
Cecil Taylor (Telecom Consultant)
Cecil Taylor is an independent consultant to companies in the telecom industry, including the utilities and health care vertical markets. His specialties include opportunity identification, strategic network architecture, requirements planning and definition, and project management. Contact Cecil at Networkedgrid@gmail.com.