“We anticipate a boom in WiMAX take-up for fixed applications in emerging markets this year,” says Wei Yuan, senior director of global marketing at ZTE’s WiMAX solutions business.

Speaking to telecoms.com at the MWC event in Barcelona, Wei Yuan believes that Russia, the CIS, the Middle East and Africa hold out most promise for WiMAX growth for ZTE.

In terms of mobile operators, Wei Yuan believes the ‘4G’ market share will be 80/20 in LTE’s favour, but the WiMAX opportunity is still a sizeable one  and worth today around several hundred dollars for the Chinese vendor.

Recent announcements by Nortel and Alcatel-Lucent that they are no longer focusing on WiMAX mobility is also an advantage for ZTE, says Wei Yuan. “We already talking to Alcatel-Lucent customers,” he says, adding that the Chinese vendor’s range of WiMAX infrastructure and devices, as well as comparatively low R&D costs, will stand it in good stead.

“The decision by Alcatel-Lucent and Nortel to leave WiMAX [mobile applications] had nothing to do with WiMAX technology but rather they lacked a competitive edge,” he says, pointing out that Alcatel-Lucent’s inability to secure deals with the mega WiMAX projects in the US (Clearwire) and Japan (UQ Communications) lay behind the Paris-headquartered supplier’s decision to trim down its WiMAX R&D investment.  

ZTE’s WiMAX momentum is highlighted by In-Stat, a market research firm. In a recent report, In-Stat says that out of the 94 new WiMAX 16e commercial networks deployed last year, ZTE had 15 of them or 16 per cent of all the networks established worldwide, lining up the company among the top two WiMAX equipment vendors in 2008. 

The report goes on to say that with ZTE’s industry-proven WiMAX terminal solutions and a significant number of commercial WiMAX networks the company is planning to install in the years to come, there is a high probability that the company can assume the number one spot as WiMAX equipment vendor worldwide.