Sleight Of Hand Competition
By Mike Masnick, Tue Jun 08 18:00:00 GMT 2004

A new wireless broadband company seems to go to great lengths to point out why it's better than Wi-Fi-based wireless broadband. The only problem is that may not be its real competition.

An important part of any sales pitch is explaining how you're better than the competition. However, too many companies seem to set up straw-men competitors to knock down, just so they look like they're beating the competition. It's easy to go on at length how a new laptop from company X is much better than an old electric typewriter, but that's useless when compared to all the other laptops out there these days.

A new wireless broadband company, Libera, is getting ready to launch an offering in the UK using licensed 28GHz spectrum. It's tough to miss out on the fact that it's licensed because Libera makes sure to make that point very clear -- explaining how licensed spectrum is much better for business broadband usage than unlicensed spectrum.

While licensed spectrum certainly does have some advantages (especially in avoiding interference problems), the company doesn't seem to explain why it's better than other alternatives, such as fiber -- which is widely available in the region Libera is planning to launch in. That doesn't mean it can't compete with fiber. Wireless does have some advantages, but companies entering this space need to remember that they're not just competing against other wireless broadband players, but various wireline options as well. If anything, the focus on licensed spectrum seems like it's just a marketing aspect the company has picked up on, as even its own FAQ admits it plans to use unlicensed spectrum, to fill in the gaps in its own service.