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WiMAX, Advanced 3G On Collision Course, Study Says

While some analysts have said that wireless broadband and advanced 3G services can co-exist, a study released Friday claims that they will inevitably compete for the same customers.

"It's only a matter of time," Alan Varghese, a principal analyst for ABI Research, said in a statement.

Varghese noted that wireless broadband technologies like WiMAX and advanced 3G cellular data technologies like HSDPA, a variant of GSM-UMTS systems, will provide similar performance Some wireless operators, such as AT&T Wireless, which just merged with Cingular, have already started installing UMTS in a number of metropolitan areas. UMTS delivers speeds of about 384 Kbps but is easily upgradable to HSDPA, which potentially will deliver speeds of 3 Mbps.

Similarly, WiMAX will deliver high speeds and an eventual variant will make it mobile, Varghese said.

"HSDPA is an easy software upgrade from existing UMTS architecture, and cellular operators will be well on their way in 2005," Varghese said. "WiMax will need brand new networks and infrastructure, so the upfront costs and timelines may be more; but once deployed, WiMAX will offer very high bit rates and the possibility for new entrants to compete either using licensed or unlicensed spectrum."

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