US and India push WiMax global growth

5 Aug 2009

The biggest markets globally for both mobile and fixed line WiMax is down to two main reasons says market research firm Infonetics Research: huge populations, or the broadband demands of the population not being met by existing technologies.

This has lead the firm’s recent report – WiMax Equipment and Subscribers in Key Markets – to conclude that the worldwide markets with the strongest potential for WiMax are the US, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil.

However, India is the largest single-country WiMAX opportunity globally because most of its major operators including Tata and Bharti Airtel are already actively pursuing WiMAX and deployments are underway with adoption already evident.

The report also noted that following a slowdown during this year’s recession, WiMAX adoption in the US is thought to continue growing at a healthy rate as firms like Clearwire as well as an increasing number of small-town and rural deployments by other operators, carry on building out WiMax availability, particularly with those areas benefiting from rural broadband stimulus funding.

“India, because of its scale, and the US, because of Clearwire’s profile, are the two most prominent markets for WiMax, and both are absolutely critical to its fortunes,” said Richard Webb, directing analyst for WiMax, microwave, and mobile devices at Infonetics Research.

“Adoption levels and network performance in India and the US will dictate how WiMax is perceived in a global context, and thus how prominent a position 802.16e takes in the overall wireless landscape in the next decade.”

The report has also labelled Russia ‘the perfect storm’ for WiMax rollout due to its geography, greatly dispersed population, huge demand for broadband and voice services, and a population willing and able to pay for services.

Right now there are more than 10 WiMax networks in operation or deployment in Russia.

Meanwhile Brazil, with its mobile oriented population, is potentially one of the world’s most dynamic WiMax markets, and the Infonetics report claims that Wimax could very well become the primary broadband network in the country with the number of WiMax subscribers forecast to rise from 184,000 in 2008 to nearly 8m in 2013.