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Emerging markets to drive WiMAX uptake

The early success of WiMAX in emerging markets is crucial to ensuring the long term prospects for the technology, according to a report from US research house Senza Fili Consulting.

The consultant estimates that there will be 54 million WiMAX subscribers by 2012, with the gradual introduction of mobility in fixed deployments and the performance improvement from MIMO establishing the platform as a mature technology and enabling it to more effectively compete against LTE.

“The recent inclusion of WiMAX as an IMT-2000 technology will enable mobile operators to deploy it more widely, but the mobile market will take longer than the fixed one to grow, because most mobile operators do not yet need a data-only wireless network to complement their 3G networks,” said Monica Paolini, author of the report WiMAX: Ambitions and Reality. A Detailed Market Assessment and Forecast at the Global, Regional and Country Level (2006-2012).

By 2012, 61 per cent of WiMAX subscribers will use the technology for mobile access, the researcher forecasts. A third of adopters will also use WiMAX as a fixed access technology, effectively allowing WiMAX subscribers to use a single access technology for all the broadband and voice services they need.

Senza Fili said this flexibility will provide a great differentiator for WiMAX operators and will give them the opportunity to roll out innovative services, potentially making mobile broadband as pervasive as mobile voice is today.

“To motivate subscribers to sign up for service, operators need compelling devices with new form factors, ranging from CE devices for developed markets to basic portable-data devices for emerging markets,” Paolini said. “But so far vendors are still searching for an innovative vision for the development of WiMAX devices,” she added.


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