Google and Intel Boost Mobile Internet
As the world goes mobile, Intel's objective is to extend its leadership position in platforms used to access the Internet. Google is aiming at capturing the huge market for mobile advertising that is likely to grab a increasingly larger share of online advertising revenue.
The wireless carriers such as Verizon and AT&T have long been busy building walled gardens and controlling the distribution and content of mobile platforms. On the other hand, Intel and Google have long been arguing for an open model similar to the Internet access by PCs where the consumer is in charge. Such a model would obviously benefit both Intel and Google to extend their current dominance in the desktop/laptop user market into the mobile Internet space. Now the two giants appear to be succeeding with the roll-out of the Wimax network and Sprint-Nextel's willingness to work with them to beat Verizon and ATT Wireless as the incumbent carriers.
According to Wall Street Journal, the WiMax venture will create a network that potentially covers 120 million to 140 million people in the U.S. by 2010, the companies said. The venture, valued at more than $12 billion, will have a two-year head-start on rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc., which are just beginning to sketch out plans for their next-generation wireless networks.
While the potential for Wimax in the US market looks very good, I believe the really big opportunity is in the emerging markets, such as India and Pakistan, where the mobile phone has achieved greater than 50% penetration and the PC/Internet penetration remains in single digits. South Asia is witnessing some of biggest deployments of Wimax with a lot of consumer interest in both fixed and mobile broadband.
According to Juniper Research, South Asia will be the driving force behind the growth of Mobile WiMax, or the 802.16e standard. The Asia and Australia regions are expected to account for more than 50% of the total WiMax deployments by 2013.
Pakistan, being among the first countries in the world to roll-out a functional WiMax service, is experiencing tremendous growth in demand after Wateen Telecom’s launch of its WiMax service and roll-out plans announced by Mobilink.
India's state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited is rolling out a Wimax network for broadband access in response to government requirement that 20 million broadband lines be in service by 2010.
Given the pent-up demand for the Internet access and the ubiquity of mobile phones, Wimax roll-out will likely spur the largest adoption of mobile Internet in South Asia first.