Could Samsung take a Qualcomm-like position in WiMAX?
First Thoughts: Samsung has achieved an extremely valuable headstart in the mobile WiMAX market by persuading the community to adopt its Wi-Bro technology as the basis of the upcoming 802.16e standard.
Any thoughts that Wi-Bro, in its pre-standard incarnation, would be a platform specific to Korea, where deployments begin in the first half of next year, have been cast aside by the announcement of the first Wi-Bro roll-out in the west, by a Brazilian broadcaster, and by trials with Sprint Nextel in the US. All this raises the question of what approach Samsung and fellow Wi-Bro pioneer LG will take to intellectual property. Will they seek to establish a revenue stream and significant influence by asserting patent rights, which could be a major blow to Intel and others.
Final Thoughts: The larger the market for mobile WiMAX, and the more rapidly it takes off, the better Samsung is positioned to capitalize on its headstart. Therefore we believe it will take a liberal approach to royalties in order not to hold back the market. If it seeks too much control, large operators will be put off by a technology that no longer appears to be open and the standard could even fragment. This is an outcome the Korean giant, in its quest to establish a global business in broadband wireless, will be keen to avoid.
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