Intel and Wireless Business Solutions (WBS) have established a strategic and exclusive business partnership to jointly roll-out WiMax products. The agreement wiill see Intel providing embedded WiMax devices that will act as a virtual service provider for WBS services provided by iBurst.
WBS is the holder of a Commercial WiMax Spectrum License and last year formed a strategic partnership with Intel.
"Research has shown that broadband access has a direct impact on economic growth," says Lil Mohan, MD of Intel's WiMax programme for EMEA, META and sub-Saharan Africa. "This alignment with WBS will drive the uptake of WiMax in sub-Saharan Africa and in essence it takes us one step closer to pervasive broadband," he says.
This partnership has created the perfect opportunity for both businesses and consumers to benefit from the broadband boom as WiMax can be rolled-out quickly and allow those in the remote areas to benefit from broadband access.
The partnership will also increase competition, which will ultimately give the end user more choice and better pricing.
"Today represents a milestone in the history of the Internet in South Africa and it's also a great achievement for WBS and iBurst to partner with a global technology leader like Intel. Hardware partnerships like these are the key to exponential Internet growth in Africa," says Alan Knott-Craig, MD of iBurst.
"WBS & iBurst are committed to increasing Internet penetration and improving Internet services in this country. We are confident that bundling hardware and access technologies such as WiMax is the way to get more South Africans online," he adds.
Although the agreement has been signed, the network and WiMax-enabled laptops will only be available in early 2010. However, the initial testing phase has been completed with positive results.
"Once these devices are available, the end user will essentially have access to wireless ADSL as well as the added benefit of quality of service management," says Mohan.
The WBS WiMax network already consists of 120 base stations deployed in Gauteng, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal providing fixed broadband services with plans to commission another 80 WiMax base stations in the near future.