Alvarion`s new MD on its first-mover advantage in SA, and Nigeria`s potential

WINSTON SMITH, the new MD for Alvarion SA, a 4G WiMax and wireless communications solutions provider, is eagerly awaiting the communications regulator `s announcement of its guidelines for a WiMax spectrum auction.

"We expect this announcement to be made within the second quarter of 2010, bringing with it the likelihood of at least four new WiMax operators within this market," says Smith.

Alvarion claims it was the first vendor to supply WiMax equipment to a South African company  nternet service provider MWeb in 2007, and incidentally, the trial equipment is still in existence.

"Nothing has deterred Alvarion from working in this market. We have been steadily working in this market since 2004, with products for both the licensed and unlicensed spectrum," continues Smith.

"What sets us apart from the is the fact that Alvarion is the only WiMax pure player in the market internationally. We`re focused on delivering the best solution in the wireless broadband space, while our competitors also manufacture equipment for services other than wireless broadband. As an operator - and in my time I have worked for several operators - I would be mindful of this multitasking," says Smith.

Alvarion has used SA as a foothold into several sub-Saharan African markets, including Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mauritius, but the Nigerian market is the one that currently holds the most promise for the company.

"Nigeria`s communications industry regulator recently provided clarity on its allocation of WiMax spectrum to a number of service providers and operators, which now want to deploy WiMax to their market spectrum. South Africa is still the number one market in Africa to be in, but Nigeria is a close second. Frequency allocation in South Africa will just let Alvarion get more aggressively into that space," Smith points out.

One product that Alvarion is targeting at African markets is its award-winning BreezeMAX Extreme 5000, the first WiMax 802.16e solution commercially available at the 5GHz licence-exempt frequency band.

"This best-of-breed base station offers advanced air-protocol capabilities with superior performance that lowers the cost of high-bandwidth, carrier-class broadband connectivity for a variety of applications resulting in an improved business case," he explains. Essentially though, the solution offers all the benefits of the full WiMax 802.16e standard to licence exempt operators, which is very important in Africa, where licences are currently not allocated or there is insufficient spectrum for operators.

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