After the Standard of WiMAX Technology being Freed

As we know, the government – The Ministry of Communication and Information, and Board of Indonesian Telecommunication Regulation, finally become softer on the standard of technology used for WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) network as one of wireless methods to access high speed internet. Quoted from detikInet, The Broadband Wireless Access (BWA—including WiMAX) in frequency 2.3 Ghz is free to choose the standard of used technology.

WiMAX which usually called as “Wi-Fi on steroids” in which the Internet network can be transmitted by wireless system with a wider coverage area. First, we need to trace the classification in WiMAX. The first is IEEE 802.16d that commonly called as Fixed WiMAX. The next is IEEE 802.16e that support mobility as known as Mobile WiMAX. In many parts of the world, Mobile Wimax is the most popular standard WiMAX used. If you want to read the further technical details, you may consider some sources, including its Wikipedia page.

However, what is the problem faced in Indonesia? The former regulator only approved the usage of Fixed WiMAX in Indonesia. The reason is to “develop national industry” because in foreign countries, the Mobile WiMAX is mostly used. Another reason is that government doesn’t want the crash happens between WiMAX users (if it becomes Mobile WiMAX) with another cellular operator that clear a way the LTE (3 GPP Long Term Evolution). One of them should give the way to the other, and the government decided that WiMAX should give the way.

Why the government finally changes the decision? In my opinion, it deals with commercial matters. Mobile WiMAX got more commercial supports. That means that its business feasibility is better than Fixed WiMAX. When government stick on the decision to support local industry by maintaining Fixed WiMAX, certain local industry will count the cost and revenue on Fixed WiMAX plus the technology efficiency compare to Mobile WiMAX.

Although the service works in some area of Jabodetabek (Sitra WiMAX—The branch of First Media) and North Sumatera (Berca), the decision to maintain the Fixed WiMAX is leaving disappointment. The condition of Indonesia, which is formed by islands and the mass is crowded in the big cities, we know that cell phone wireless service is better than fixed phone. Based on the cost, Fixed WiMAX is more expensive than Mobile WiMAX, but the feasibility makes it work slower. How about the hardware? It is a way the same. Our producers do not support the localization of Fixed WiMAX hardware. However, I haven’t got the information about the obstacle occurred.

Let’s take a look at Sitra WiMAX. Untill now, the improvement works slowly. It is only concentrated in the West and South Jakarta area. It is what happens in Jakarta. How about other cities? How WiMAX technology can support the vision of high speed internet penetration become wider in Indonesia? For greater good, the government became softer and allowed the usage of any WiMAX standard technology, both Fixed and Mobile.

For me, whatever the technology is, the most important thing is how the WiMAX service providers can give qualified high speed internet access with customers’-satisfaction-focused service. Is the provider of the WiMAX service ready with that level of services?

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