WiMAX benefits from deep-pocketed operators

One of the findings to emerge from recent research published by Maravedis is that there is a small but significant number of WiMAX operators who have got plenty of cash to spend, despite the economic downturn.

Of the ‘top’ 22 WiMAX operators worldwide, which the research firm identifies as having enough cash and spectrum to make a profitable WIMAX business case in the long term, 45 percent of those interviewed had more than $100m in cash. (Maravedis does not make it clear in its press release, however, whether each of the 22 operators were interviewed or not.)

These operators include obvious names such as Clearwire, as well as operators who currently enjoy a relatively small subscriber base but for whom Maravedis believes there is still great potential, such as Scartel (Russia). Other such ‘strategic’ WiMAX operators include: UQ Communications (Japan), Far EasTone (Taiwan), BSNL (India) and Telmex International.

According to Maravedis, the top 22 operators worldwide will contribute nearly 2.5 million WiMAX subscribers by the end of 2009 – up from 1.24 million today (and around half the current WiMAX total) – and close to four million by the end of 2010.

“Interestingly, 42 percent of these operators are considering or planning to deploy LTE,” adds Cintia Garza, a Maravedis senior analyst, suggesting that what might be good conditions for WIMAX could also be good for LTE (providing that LTE equipment becomes available at the time when operators are ready to invest).

Although the top 22 WiMAX operators identified by Maravedis enjoy the support of strong investor groups and deep pockets to offset limited credit facilities, Maravedis also notes they are still impacted by the financial crisis. Given the current global economic uncertainty, wireless capital expenditures by most of the top WiMAX operators are predicted by Maravedis to slow down in 2009.

“It is important to keep in mind that WiMAX is just now entering a phase of commercial availability that makes volume applications, including machine to machine, utility monitoring, metro-wide mobile broadband and embedded consumer applications feasible. In addition, the lean WiMAX ecosystem has already reached price points for ICs, modules and devices to compete in volume markets,” says Robert Syputa, partner and senior analyst at Maravedis.

HearAdlane Fellah, CEO Maravedis, address these issues and more at the WiMAX Forum Global Congress in Amsterdam 2-3 June 2009!

Download the conference agenda now at

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