Libera, the owner of 28 GHz licenses in the UK, has decided to build a WiMax network in unlicensed bands instead: The cost difference between buying radios for the 28 GHz band compared to buying WiMax-like gear in the 5.8 GHz band swayed Libera. Libera plans to initially target business customers with intentions to migrate to consumer services once the price of gear drops even lower.
Libera did a trial in the 28 GHz band using equipment from Alvarion but chose Aperto for the unlicensed network. It's not known what Libera will do with its 28 GHz licenses.
This move comes just after PCCW decided against WiMax. PCCW has been trialing networks from Navini and IPWireless for a network in the Thames Valley, west of London. But PCCW said yesterday that it had chosen IPWireless for the network. Navini backs WiMax. PCCW said that it chose IPWireless because it offers some of the same characteristics as WiMax promises, such as portability and non-line-of-sight, only IPWireless equipment is available now. Certified WiMax gear isn't yet on the market and initial equipment will support fixed offerings.
Operators continue to be faced with the dilemma between waiting on WiMax for the standard solution or trying to jump the gun on the market and go with proprietary or so-called pre-standard solutions. As we can see in the examples of Libera and PCCW, operators are making different choices. But it's worth noting that the more operators choose vendors like IPWireless, the more those independent vendors become viable.