WiMax tipped for 80 million subscribers

11 Dec 2007

Global adoption of mobile WiMax broadband services are tipped to reach five million subscribers in the next five years, with 2010 suggested as the year the technology will really begin to take off.

According to Juniper Research, the value of mobile WiMax service revenues globally will grow to over US$23bn a year by 2013.

The largest markets for the technology will be the US, Japan and South Korea. Some 10 countries will have mobile WiMax device markets worth in excess of US$100m a year.

Juniper estimates there are several wild-card factors that could significantly grow the market, such as the emergence of low-cost laptops and broadband capability in devices like portable music players and games consoles.

“We are seeing more and more Mobile WiMax 802.16e trials and network contracts — over 50 have been announced so far in 2007 alone. The market is very active in all regions of the world,” explained Hower Wilcox, author of the report.

“We anticipate that mobile usage will develop after initial demand for fixed and portable services — WiMax 802.16e is a flexible platform that can operate in all three modes of usage.

“Mobile WiMax will represent a single-digit proportion of the global mobile-broadband base by 2013. This will be a tremendous achievement for this new technology platform, which has recently been boosted by the ITU’s (International Telecommunications Union) endorsement of it as an IMT2000 specification.”

Wilcox says that WiMax will be a device-based technology that will feature on devices such as handsets, laptops, datacards and media players.

“The twin challenges are for vendors to produce the right devices at the right time and price and for Mobile WiMax service providers to differentiate their offerings from existing mobile operators. Success in these challenges will accelerate market development,” Wilcox concluded.

By John Kennedy