While it's good to know that Perth will be getting another mobile broadband option next March with the rollout of a 4G service, it's not quite time to throw a party and ditch all those 3G USB modems.
Picture by Wikimedia Commons
The 4G service (utilising the WiMAX standard) will be rolled out by Channel Seven, which already owns the Unwired service that operates in Sydney and Melbourne, though it will go under the alternative brand name of Vivid Wireless. Lack of broader coverage has meant we've generally ignored Unwired when looking at 3G broadband options, and to be honest the same logic applies to the Perth plan. While it's refreshing to see a service start somewhere other than the two biggest capitals, the fact remains that a single-city option is pretty much pointless for travellers, and will generally only be useful for locals if it's both cheaper and faster than existing ADSL services, which seems unlikely.
Analyst firm Ovum also points out that this limited rollout is a lot more constrained than previous boasts by Unwired that it would roll out a nationwide WiMAX network, and the new branding won't help attract customers, noting "competing against three other established and strong mobile broadband operators (Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone/3) will prove extremely challenging". 3G broadband is a fast-growing market, but we'll need to wait until March to see if Vivid can join that party.
VIVIDWIRELESS Announcement [PDF link]