Is it make or break time for WiMAX?


20 May 2009

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Despite the announcement from WiMAX Broadband Services that it will generate US$15bn by 2014, a survey from Juniper Research anticipates that mobile networks could be reaching a crux in their growth levels, due to some significant hurdles currently being faced in several countries – some of them outside of WiMAX control

According to a new study from Juniper Research, Mobile WiMAX networks are being rolled out more slowly than expected, meaning that service revenues will grow more slowly than forecast a year ago.

Mapping out the unfolding opportunity for WiMAX over the next six years, the ‘WiMAX Broadband: Markets, Opportunities & Forecasts, 2009-2014’ report found that revenues from WiMAX 802.16e broadband subscribers will exceed US$15bn globally by 2014.

The report also concluded that WiMAX will provide an improved experience for broadband customers who are receiving low-speed DSL or cable modem services, or who are at the limit of DSL coverage.

Despite this growth forecast, Juniper Research said that WiMAX faces spectrum auction postponements in several countries, funding problems from the credit crunch and slow network implementations, all of which are combining to handicap network operators signing up subscribers.

It argued that these factors, some of which are outside the control of the WiMAX ecosystem, are holding back the market.

The report’s author, Howard Wilcox, warned: "While market leaders such as Clearwire are launching services and expanding internationally, there are also well-publicised challenges for WiMAX, such as those highlighted by French regulator ARCEP. Overall, we’ve had to reduce our forecasts: we’re on the cusp of make or break time for WiMAX.”

In addition, the report also determines that the WiMAX ecosystem needs to deliver by translating trials into reliable, commercial services that attract customers.

Further findings from the WiMAX report include how North America, the Far East and China, and western Europe together will account for 70pc of the market by 2014

In addition, mobile WiMAX has a role to play in providing broadband in developing countries where there is no wired network. Africa and the Middle East, South America, the Indian sub-continent and eastern Europe will together be worth some US$4bn by 2014 .

The report also features regional chapters, identifying broadband and DSL growth, WiMAX market status, use case analyses and market forecasts with supporting country detail.  

For further information on the WiMAX report, visit: www.juniperresearch.com

By Carmel Doyle