Some US telecoms operators plan to use wireless microwave access (WiMax) to deliver services to consumers within 18 months.
Key to this development, according to research from analyst Meta Group, are the falling costs and improved interoperability of WiMax carrier equipment.
The analyst group predicts cost reductions will accelerate WiMax deployment through 2007, creating a third option beyond traditional copper wires and Voice over IP for local voice service in the US.
Meta also predicts that WiMax will allow alternative carriers to cut their capital expenditure, and that equipment costs per customer will improve in 2006/07 as WiMax emerges as an embedded technology in notebooks and PDAs.
By 2008, Meta expects that the cost per customer will be "dramatically reduced" to less than $80 per client.
The analyst also states that carriers' operational costs could be cut by over 40 per cent cent compared to current wireline operation costs.
"The economics of the 'wireless local loop' will drive alternative carriers to leverage WiMax technology, resulting in enhanced competition in the consumer voice market," said David Willis, vice president of Meta Group's infrastructure strategies service.
"Wireless economics have already proven true in mobile voice services, where the cost per line is 40 per cent of the cost per equivalent wireline services. We expect these same economies to hold true in wireless data using WiMax."
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