Members of the WiMAX Spectrum Owners Alliance (WiSOA) have signed the world’s first WiMAX roaming agreement, and formed a partnership with MACH Sarl and Trustive BV, the world’s leading providers of roaming services.
The agreement and partnership is the crucial first step in what will provide for seamless “GSM-like” roaming amongst WiMAX networks, and roaming partnerships with global WiFi and 3G networks – expediting the rollout of interoperable WiMAX services worldwide.
The key objective of WiSOA, a global organisation composed exclusively of owners of WiMAX spectrum, is to accelerate the acceptance and deployment of interoperable WiMAX networks through a coordinated global effort.
WiMAX is a technology that provides high-speed wireless broadband, based on the IEEE 802.16 family of standards. WiMAX is being adopted by telecommunications companies around the world, such as Sprint Nextel, KDDI, Softbank, Telmex, AT&T and Vodafone, and has been championed by Intel, Motorola, Samsung, Alcatel-Lucent and Nortel, amongst others.
One of the first companies to sign the agreement was Unwired Group Limited in Australia. According to David Spence, chief executive officer of Unwired, “This is a landmark agreement that will enable WiMAX subscribers to remain connected anywhere in the world.” All other members of WiSOA were party to the agreement.
Global Roaming Partners
MACH and Trustive will provide turn-key solutions for unified clearance, billing and interconnection, which will allow WiMAX users to roam to other networks as simply as opening their laptop computer, or other WiMAX-enabled devices.
These services will also allow roaming interconnection with an aggregated global WiFi network, and hundreds of GSM and 3G networks, creating a global wireless IP clearing and roaming platform.
According to Terence Ledger, chief commercial officer of MACH, “This is an exciting development in the realisation of a simple to use, seamless customer experience for roaming across many technologies, and MACH is proud to be at the forefront in enabling this to happen.”
Bram Jan Streefland, co-founder and managing director of Trustive, said, “Trustive is very pleased to be involved in helping to deliver a unified WiMAX experience. End users want to have broadband access wherever they are in the world, whether it is via WiFi or WiMAX. As a global IP clearinghouse, our roaming partners can be more effectively managed, which will ultimately benefit the end user.”
WiSOA intends that this initiative should be an “open” process, and welcomes the participation of other network operators and industry stakeholders to ensure adherence to technical and commercial standards.
Convergence of WiMAX, WiFi and 3G
As WiMAX networks are being rapidly deployed around the world, they will play a key role in the convergence of wireless technologies. “Our goal in this initiative is to ensure that any wireless subscriber could gain broadband access, regardless of where they are,” said Steve Cosser, chairman of WiSOA.
New chipsets, modems, PDAs and mobile handsets are being developed by companies such as Intel, Motorola, Samsung and Nokia that will allow for dual and treble connectivity amongst WiMAX, WiFi and 3G services. The agreement between WiSOA, MACH and Trustive seeks to take advantage of these converging technologies and provide a platform where users of these technologies can benefit from global roaming, irrespective of the technology.