Mobile WiMAX gets strong foothold

Mobile broadband subscribers worldwide will top the 1.1 billion mark by 2012, according to analyst figures released Friday.

US research house Parks Associates also forecasts that mobile WiMAX will connect 8 per cent, or nearly 88 million of these users, with the majority coming from Asia and the Americas.

Parks Associates estimates that 52 per cent of mobile WiMAX subscribers will be from Asian countries while North and South America will account for another 28 per cent.

“Today, most existing WiMAX deployments are the province of aspiring start up service providers or incumbent telecom carriers looking to fill coverage gaps,” said Yuanzhe Cai, director of broadband and gaming at Parks Associates.

“The imminent availability of commercial products and increasing availability of spectrum around the world will change the market for mobile WiMAX and make it viable among major service providers. Taiwan alone will have 8 million mobile WiMAX subscribers by 2012.”

According to a recent report from the research house, ‘Mobile Broadband Wireless: Path toward 4G’, approximately 160 million cellular subscribers were using a mobile broadband service at the end of 2006. Two thirds of these were using UMTS technology, with the remainder using CDMA2000 1x EV-DO.

“Both mobile WiMAX and UMTS/HSDPA technologies will gain market share in the next several years, at the expense of EV-DO,” Cai said. “TD-SCDMA will also have a meaningful market share due to its strong foothold in China, the largest mobile market in the world.”

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