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The use of mobile broadband is growing quickly, driven by consumers powered with smartphones and connected laptops.

According to market researcher Telsyte, Australia’s consumer mobile broadband spending will double from $160 million in 2008 to $320 million in 2012.

It’s very competative with the telecommunications companies busy selling internet-enabled USB keys to connect subscribers to the web via their mobile phone networks.


The Seven Network is now rolling out a wireless broadband network across Australia, using WiMax technology, to also position itself as a key internet player.


Vivid Wireless is the company set up by Seven to handle the network, which is built and operated by sibling company Unwired, acquired by Seven in November 2007 for $135.6 million.

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Vivid will use Unwired’s spectrum licence in the 2.3GHz band, with the company saying average speeds will hit 4Mbps and peak above 20Mbps.


Vivid Wireless will be managed by Martin Mercer, former Telstra consumer business executive marketing director while Seven director Ryan Stokes is the company’s chairman. He is also the son of Seven executive chairman Kerry Stokes. The wireless broadband service will be rolled out to consumers in Perth in March 2010, before moving beyond Perth under the Vivid brand name. Approximately $50 million has been invested in the rollout.

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There will be two competing wireless technologies laying claim to the term 4G. A label which is a bit premature, because what constitutes “4G” has not yet been standardised.


In September 2009, two 4G proposals were submitted to the International Telecommunications Union, Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) as candidates.

  • LTE Advanced standardised by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)
  • WiMAX 802.16m standardised by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)


4G is often thought of as the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards. Mobile telephones spring to mind when using the term “cellular wireless”, though WiMAX, the big brother to the WiFi office and home wireless network, is also staking a claim.

Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) will conduct a trial of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology in Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore in collaboration with Optus, Globe Telecom and Telkomsel, which is expected to commence in the first half of 2010. Their aim is to facilitate growth in the mobile broadband business for the SingTel Group. LTE does have a lot of momentum with the two biggest carriers in the U.S. rolling with it. Verizon has a commercial rollout of LTE in 2010, while AT&T has commercial trials scheduled for 2011.

It’s expected that all mobile phone carriers will go for the LTE technology, with the option of a personal computer being tethered to the mobile phone to gain wireless broadband access. Whereas the current Vivid Wireless WiMAX option is presently restricted to computer users, though the HTC MAX 4G Windows Mobile 6.1 smartphone is the first phone to incorporate GSM & WiMAX technology.

The two variants of 4G may grow closer in performance with time, especially as newer iterations on the standards emerge.


The true battle may not be between the competing 4G networks, but between wireless and wired broadband. Much the same way there has been a movement from landline telephone to mobile.





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