Battle lines being drawn for mobile WiMax

3 Feb 2010

An analyst’s survey of mobile WiMax service providers has ranked Alvarion, Alcatel-Lucent and Motorola as currently leading the pack for the rollout of WiMax.

“Mobile WiMAX service providers we surveyed recently gave highest ratings to Alvarion, Alcatel-Lucent and Motorola based on various criteria, such as WiMAX technology, pricing and service and support, although no one vendor was rated strong across the board,” Richard Webb, directing analyst for WiMAX, Microwave, and Mobile Devices at Infonetics Research.

“Cisco and Huawei also have good ratings, suggesting they are capable of closing ground on the top three.

“As the WiMAX market consolidates to a remaining handful of vendors and becomes more competitive, the perception of different aspects of the business will come under increasing scrutiny,” Webb said.

Cost effectiveness outrates pricing as a criterion for selecting a WiMAX vendor

On the survey vendor scorecard, for which service providers rated WiMAX equipment vendors Cisco achieved the highest ratings for four of the eight criteria, including WiMAX technology and Huawei achieved the best ratings for WiMAX equipment pricing.

Infonetics asked mobile WiMAX network equipment purchase decision-makers at 21 service providers from around the world about their choices of equipment and decision criteria for choosing vendors.

Survey respondents represent current and near-future WiMAX equipment customers, with over half already operating a mobile WiMAX network, 19pc in deployment and planning to launch WiMAX services this year, and the remaining 24pc planning to do so by 2011.

Of the respondents, 24pc are WiMAX-only operators, 19pc are fixed-line incumbents, 29pc competitive fixed-line providers, and 29pc mobile operators. The large percentage that are WiMAX-only operators are a characteristic of the WiMAX market, which has numerous, often smaller greenfield ISPs being formed specifically to take advantage of the WiMAX opportunity.

The survey features service provider ratings of the most important features in a connectivity service network (CSN)/home agent, access service network (ASN) gateway, and WiMAX base transceiver station (BTS).

Service providers also rated six mobile WiMAX vendors (Alcatel-Lucent, Alvarion, Cisco, Huawei, Motorola, and Samsung) on eight criteria: technology, security, management, price-to-performance ratio, pricing, financial stability, service and support, and product roadmap.

Companies named by respondents in response to questions about vendor familiarity include Alcatel-Lucent, Alvarion, Cisco, Fujitsu, GreenPacket, Harris-Stratex, Huawei, Motorola, Redline Communications and Samsung.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years