US : WiMAX's early success in emerging markets is crucial to ensuring the long-term prospects for the technology, according to a new report from Senza Fili Consulting, "WiMAX: Ambitions and reality. A detailed market assessment and forecast at the global, regional and country level (2006-2012)."
The gradual introduction of portability and mobility in fixed deployments and the performance improvement from MIMO will establish WiMAX as a mature technology and enable it to more effectively compete against LTE.
Eventually the best growth prospects for WiMAX are tied to the rollout of mobile services. "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.
By 2012, 61% of WiMAX subscribers will use the technology for mobile access. A third of them will also use WiMAX as a fixed-access technology. WiMAX subscribers will be able to use a single access technology for all the broadband and voice services they need. This flexibility will provide a great differentiator for WiMAX operators and gives them the opportunity to roll out innovative services.
Mobile broadband has the potential to become as pervasive as mobile voice is today and WiMAX is one of the technologies that can take mobile broadband to the mass market. Device availability is the next biggest challenge. "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.
This report includes an assessment of the global WiMAX market and an in-depth forecast of fixed and mobile broadband subscribers, fixed and mobile WiMAX subscribers, data and VoIP service revenues, device types, and equipment revenues for infrastructure and devices. Detailed data is presented for 16 countries, 7 regions and for the worldwide market.