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CPE Costs Constrain Business Growth


Hi everyone. My name is Eric Harris and I found the list through a direct email from Cisco.

I'm the IT Manager for Forum Communications' Interactive Division, which operates a Cisco (almost WiMAX) residential ISP. We started off 4 years ago with Navini, and are currently trying to work out an upgrade to full WiMAX for our network. Our biggest issue that is constraining our growth is the CPE cost. Until we're able to provide CPE to customers for under $100, we have to subsidize most of the cost. We're hoping that the news of Cisco providing Clear with CPE via Linksys bodes well for us Cisco BWX operators as well. The sooner our potential customers can run out to a Best Buy and purchase a modem, then do over-the-air signup the sooner we can greatly expand our business! Not to mention be able to purchase more radios.

Thanks for providing this community.

4 Replies 4


Thanks Eric for joining our SP Mobility Community and for your comments.

CPEs have historically followed the price/volume curve. Somewhat high during the formative days of a technology/solution and then, driven by tighter integration, greater interoperability, and higher volume, CPEs have offered more for less. Multi-vendor nteroperability between CPE and BTS (including interoperability for innovations such as beamforming, power management, etc.), and between base stations, will bootstrap this process, with some help from consortia such as WiMAX Forum (or LSTI for LTE solutions).

Are you aware of our USB CPEs for WiMAX? I also suggest you take a look at new revenue sources and business models and sources of revenue such as targeted advertising, parental control, fair usage, etc., to increase the ARPU. 


Thanks for the tips and input. I have heard of your USB WiMAX CPE, but unfortunately they're still more expensive than the 210 modems. Haven't seen any pictures yet since the BWX section on is pretty sparse.

One question that I do have is about interoperability. How well will 3rd party modems work with the Cisco BWX platform in the future? We're hoping that within 12-18 months we'll be seeing WiMAX devices on the shelves at stores such as Best Buy, enabling us to more easily obtain customers. Whether this is a realistic expectation, we don't yet know.


Without going into too many details, Cisco has started interoperability testing with a variety of 3rd party CPE vendors.  These devices encompass all manner of CPE, including USB dongle, desktop and outdoor fixed units.

We're working on a public roadmap for this testing, to be able to indicate when such devices will be commercially available (either direct from the 3rd party vendors or via a relationship sale with Cisco), and hope to have this published shortly.

Rest assured, we do understand the requirement for inexpensive CPE to push the WiMAX business forward, and it's a high priority for the team within Cisco.

I realize there is not a lot of detail in this post, but we will provide details just as soon as we have the roadmap publicized.



It's great to hear that this is being worked on. Thanks for the info.

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