WiMAX will quickly dominate the fixed broadband wireless market, but its success in the mobile arena will be slower and more difficult to achieve, according to a new report from Senza Fili Consulting. Despite this, 802.16e — the version of WiMAX that supports mobile access — will be the clear winner over 802.16-2004, which only supports fixed services. Its superior performance meets the requirements of both fixed and mobile service providers and creates the economies of scale needed to drive equipment prices down.
Even though it will not be available for a year or more after 802.16-2004, 57% of WiMAX subscribers will be using 802.16e by 2010.
However, mobile operators with 3G networks will not be the first to adopt WiMAX, according to Monica Paolini, author of the report. “New and established service providers that are eager to enter the mobility and portability market, but do not have cellular spectrum, will drive WiMAX adoption,” she said.
WiMAX offers both fixed and mobile access over the same infrastructure, opening the way for a new personal broadband service that gives users continuous broadband Internet access at home, at work, and while they are on the move.
By 2010, there will be 15.4 million WiMAX subscribers worldwide, generating US$16.5 billion in service revenues. “The hottest markets will be emerging countries like China and Mexico where WiMAX is a cost-effective last-mile solution, and countries like Korea with a high demand for portable and mobile services,” said Paolini. In 2010, 41% of subscribers will be in Asia-Pacific countries.
WiMAX’s success will depend on the availability of 802.16e WiMAX-certified products early in 2007 and on a substantial price reduction for portable and mobile subscriber units, which Senza Fili Consulting forecast to decline to the US$140-190 range by 2010.