Interview With Dov Bar-Gera Of Telecom AG

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Mr. Dov Bar-Gera, president of WiMAX Telecom AG Switzerland, took the time to answer a few of our pressing WiMax questions. WiMAX Telecom AG Switzerland was founded by Werner Kastzler together with Dov Bar-Gera, who is also the founder of surfEU, RSLCom Austria and Airpage.

WiMAX Telecom AG is planning a rollout of WiMAX in Switzerland and Austria by the end of this year (2005). Let’s find out from Mr. Dov Bar-Gera himself the latest status of the project, starting with our first question:

Q: What are WiMAX Telecom AG plans for rolling out WiMAX in Switzerland and Austria?

The initial rollout is Austria due to the fact that in Austria we have already a license and the needed frequencies. We are going to start with a smaller network in 2 regions: one in a rural area and one in a larger city. We assume that by end of February we will decide about the regions. The full deployment will take place during 2006 and 2007. We could accelerate the deployment, if market acceptance is as we expect it to be.

Concerning Switzerland, we are depending on the regulator called BAKOM to decide for a tender. We expect a tender during 2005 and hopefully also a decision by then. Thanks to the experience that we are going to aggregate in Austria, we would be able to start Switzerland very fast. The proximity of the countries, the similar basic language and the high technical standards of the subscribers in both countries will make it relatively friendly to start Switzerland.

Q: What is their timeframe for deployment (what would their rollout look like?)

Austria will see an initial installation by end of Q2. Switzerland will last a little bit longer as the regulator will have to give its go ahead.

Q: Which features of WiMAX are critical to the success of their deployment?

A minimum of latency to assure an excellent SLA. Initially we are going to offer broadband connectivity, but very fast issues like nomadic capabilities and even a certain grade of mobility are going to be critical.

We are not convinced that VoIP is our domaine, but we must make sure that our infrastructure will support it. In a later stage the key success factors are going to be download and streaming capabilities and even more issues like online gaming.

Q: Does WiMAX Telecom AG see WiMAX for as a solution for access or backhaul?

It would be a waste of resources just to use it as a backhaul. We certainly are going to put a big emphasis on the access and even more on a mass market product.

Q: How will customers in Switzerland and Austria be able to benefit from using WiMax?

We are going to offer a broadband access to anybody totally independently of the type of wiring. That means the infrastructure of the incumbent will continue to serve customers that are happy with a fixed geographical location. Anybody that would like to enjoy certain level of mobility or even just neighbourhood independence, will opt for a wireless broadband solution style Wimax.

Q: Does WiMAX Telecom AG have plans for mobile WiMAX 802.16e?

Plans yes, but let’s wait and see how and when it will be available from the suppliers point of view.

Q: What is their hope for the future of WiMAX?

That today’s teens are starting to go on vacation on their own. That would mean that tons of notebooks and similar devices are going to be on the move. That’s the point that WBA will be part of the day to day life, exactly as a GSM handy is part of their life today.

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