iDEN, the end of an American uniqueness

The iDEN networks have always been considered as odd on this side of the Atlantic. This network technology designed by Motorola in the early 90s is still used by two US operators : Sprint Nextel and SouthernLINC Wireless.

Motorola iDEN devices

iDEN is now approaching its death. FCC just allowed Sprint to use 3G and 4G technologies in iDEN spectrum (800MHz). The key feature of the iDEN technology was Push To Talk that GSM networks were able to mimic with GPRS P2T applications in the early 2000s.

With the end of iDEN and the US adoption of 3G and LTE it is the end of an American uniqueness. Wireless technological standards are now global.

Wimax dying as a mobile technology

I was wondering in these pages 2 years ago about the future of Wimax as a mobile technology. The coverage and backing of European players was weak and I didn’t see any future for Wimax as a mobile technology.

> Mobile WIMAX beyond the propaganda

I’ve been following the struggles of Clearwire for a few months. Clearwire was the latest strong support Wimax had in the US. It has suffered a few quarters of loss. Clearwire is switching its strategy to embrace LTE to serve “densely populated urban areas of Clearwire’s existing 4G markets, where 4G usage demands are high.” Clearwire will apparently stick to its wholesale strategy and is targeting 10M subscribers in early 2012.

On the other hand, the other wholesale player LightSquared is enjoying a full backing of MNOs in the US and is closing deals after deals.

Given the limited number of Wimax handsets available, I won’t be surprised by Clearwire switching its whole network to LTE by the end of 2012.

The mobile industry will then enjoy a new stability period after the turmoil of Wimax and LTE competition for the 4G dominance.

The death of mobile video telephony?

videophone

Video telephony seems to be a futuristic application since the early days telephone was invented. AT&T never succeeded to launch its video phone in the 60s nor did NTT in the 70s. Now even the mobile video telephony, once the star application of 3G in 1999, is at risk.

Toshiba TG01 the 1st Qualcomm snapdragon phone doesn’t support video telephony. But it isn’t a choice of Toshiba but a constraint from Qualcomm: Snapdragon chipset (aka QSD 8250) just simply doesn’t support it.

I don’t have the view on the real usage of video telephony on the 3G networks, but it just seems it had never taken off and now the industry is focusing on other data applications like email, browsing, etc. Just to be sure, it would be interesting to look at the final specs of LTE to check out if video telephony is still in the menu.