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Home | WiMAX Update | WiMAX Forum, Scenna Tabesh
 
Scenna TabeshStriding Toward Mobile Broadband

Scenna Tabesh, Director of Marketing Communications of the WiMAX Forum, talks with Intercomms about the future of WiMAX technology and the organization's initiatives

Scenna Tabesh is the Director of Marketing Communications for the WiMAX Forum. Scenna leads the planning, development, and execution of outbound marketing and communications activities for the organization. She also leads the development and execution of brand strategies to propagate the value of the WiMAX and WiMAX Forum brands and messages. Working with the Marketing Working Group (MWG), Scenna develops and implements strategic communications plans that reach WiMAX Forum targeted ecosystem players.

Scenna has over nine years of experience in marketing communications, public relations, business development and event management. Before joining the WiMAX Forum, she served as the WiMAX Marketing Communications and Corporate Event Manager for Intel Corporation's Mobility Group. Scenna received her masters of art in public affairs reporting and her bachelor of science in journalism from the University of Illinois.

Q: What will the three Global Congress events throughout 2008 mean for the WiMAX Forum?
A: For more than ten years, Informa Telecoms and Media has produced the annual 3GSM World Congress Summit. Due to the overwhelming success of this event, the WiMAX Forum is pursuing a similar partnership and will launch the WiMAX Forum Global Congress Event Series in 2008.

The WiMAX Forum has decided to ramp up support and development for the WiMAX ecosystem by establishing tradeshows and conferences which focus on the most important players in the industry. With support of Forum members and key industry players, we will hold a series of three events where critical information related to WiMAX will be exhibited and discussed.

We just started developing the conference program content and participation for these three events in 2008, starting with our Asian event in Singapore in April. To date, we have ten confirmed executive keynote speakers with additional speakers pending. We also have over 30 sponsors and exhibitors confirmed for this event. Our flagship event will take place in June, in Amsterdam, and our last event will occur in Atlanta in November.

Q: What will make these events valuable beyond the exhibition and discussions?
A: At the Global Congress events, we will have WiMAX Forum certified training courses that will be launched with our exclusive partners, Informa and Doceotech. Those programs are currently held at other external industry events and at various locations on a worldwide basis so having them at the Global Congress events will be ideal. In the future, there will also be additional targeted training programs as well as some new topic discussions. In addition, we are also co-locating at least one of our 2008 PlugFests with one of the events; and we are going to introduce what we are calling the "Testing Symposiums." These will likely bring our interoperability and application lab testing together at the show, providing exclusive opportunities for infrastructure players to interact with the process.

Q: Vodafone has recently joined the WiMAX Forum. What do you think this means for the organization?
A: As of October, WiMAX Forum has more than 500 member companies, a number that already exceeds our 2007 goal. We are all pleasantly surprised about this high number because it really does show critical mass behind the WiMAX ecosystem, giving us genuine momentum.

Our members are clearly very important to us ,as they represent the entire industry value chain. We have equipment manufacturers, operators, systems integrators, component makers, application service providers, and content providers. Operators make up the majority of our membership, which is very encouraging. Vodafone has joined as a principle member of WiMAX Forum although it remains technology neutral as far as future networks are concerned. This keeps their options open and allows them to openly evaluate WiMAX technology. Furthermore, Vodafone has taken an active role in both our Service Provider Working Group and our Global Roaming Working Group. Vodafone is an essential and active member of the Forum and we look forward to its continuing key role in the future development of WiMAX technology.

Q: How are the various trials and rollouts of WiMAX going?
A: We have begun to pay more attention to nationwide WiMAX networks because of the Sprint-Clearwire partnership In Russia, Summa Telecom is planning to extend WiMAX coverage to 330 cities by 2010. In Brazil, Neovia is currently planning to extend their networks nationally, while the Argentinan-based company, Telmex, is migrating their CDMA network to WiMAX. In India, WiMAX is actually being deployed by all the leading operators to date with more plans for further deployments. Finally, Australia Connected, a government initiative, is designed to offer fast, high-speed, affordable broadband access to the Australian population.

Q: And of course there is M-Taiwan, what are the latest developments there?
A: Taiwan is a good template for other countries who are interested in deploying WiMAX technology. One of the key takeaways from the MTaiwan programme is that it's government-led and the country has invested a huge chunk of time and money to ensure the deployment of WiMAX technology. As a result, this effort has strengthened the country's communications infrastructure.

Taiwan is a fantastic example of how great government leadership can benefit technology, by bringing broadband wireless to its people. Due to its enormous success, Taiwan is now working on the development of six commercial broadband licences awarded in July. Since Taiwanese users are spread out across the country, these licenses will make wireless traffic, going long distances, both reliable and cost effective.

Our upcoming WiMAX Forum Member Conference is in Taipei in October (22-26). We expect to have well over 700 attendees. And, for the first time, a Member Conference is complemented by and external, concurrent WiMAX Forum Showcase and Conference, coordinated by one of our partners, Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute. Our members were extremely interested in participating in this conference which reveals the momentum that is developing as a result of Taiwan's nationwide initiatives.

Another good synergistic initiative that has evolved as a result of Taiwan's leadership is the M-Taiwan Wireless Applications Lab (MTWAL), the first WiMAX Forum endorsed open applications lab. The lab is currently gearing up,, and we hope to provide public demonstrations of the lab in Taipei.

Q: Is the spectrum available for WiMAX?
A: We are headed in the right direction, and the WiMAX Forum is working to encourage sufficient bandwidth to be made available. We just completed a spectrum requirement white paper for Global WiMAX on this topic. The WiMAX Forum is suggesting a minimum of 30MHz per operator and we are confident that this will be acheived on a global scale. Already, Korea has allocated spectrum amounting to 27MHz per operator, Taiwan is allocating 30MHz per operator, Sprint Nextel has at least 30MHz in 2.5GHz band, and Clearwire already has significant spectrum. The US FCC also allows aggregation enabling operators to acquire additional licenses. Decisions in Europe regarding 2.5GHz bands are still pending but it is anticipated that sufficient spectrum will be allocated to support WiMAX. Another of the Forum's top objectives in making mobile broadband a reality is in Japan, where we are advocating for the establishment of two nationwide 30MHz mobile WiMAX licenses in the 2.5GHz spectrum. The government recently completed their regulatory work for 2.5GHz access.

Q: Are you winning the '4G' argument?
A: WiMAX is a main contender for what is emerging as 4G technology. WiMAX is accelerating the convergence between telecom and computing. By bridging these two industries, specifically when it comes to embedding in hand held and notebook devices, WiMAX has the possibility to deliver mobile internet on a global scale, just like Wi-Fi.

A key differentiator for WiMAX technology is the global interoperability of WiMAX equipment, certified by the WiMAX Forum, resulting in mass volume and assurance for service providers that when buying equipment from more than one company it will work together.

To answer your question, yes, I believe that we are winning the "4G" argument. Consider we have over 500 members and continue to grow - just about the entire ecosystem are involved which sends a strong message to the few competitors. If you look at the Forum's critical mass of leaders in the communication industry, you see a consistent goal of driving a common platform for the global deployment of IP-based broadband wireless services all at low royalties and systems delivering 3 times the performance at half the price of current 3G technology. These companies are heavily invested in the future of WiMAX, they're not just tourists.

Q: You've been looking at Mobile WiMAX deployment alternatives in the Access Network. What have been the findings for metropolitan, suburban and rural areas?
A: The WiMAX Forum has undertaken studies which provide insight into deployment considerations in varying regions and equipment options. These studies found that WiMAX is being considered for all types of areas to meet multiple needs, for example, regulators are looking at WiMAX technology as a way of bringing broadband to rural communities. Some examples of these types of communities are India and Australia. The study also showed that Sprint Nextel and Clearwire are rolling out WiMAX, using 2.5GHz, in major markets across the US. Following this trend in the US is both Korea and Taiwan where WiMAX is being deployed in all areas. This goes to show that WiMAX deployment is widespread, and is not limited, to region or equipment options.

For more information visit: WIMAX website at www.wimaxforum.org

 
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