December 21, 2009
Despite Recession, WiMAX Grows Stronger and Stronger
By Narayan Bhat, TMCnet Contributor
Though recessionary trends appeared to have slowed down investments in telecom industry, WiMAX Forum says wireless broadband networks based on WiMAX technology have reached 519 in 146 countries, including 95 WiMAX networks deployed by 2G mobile operators.
In the year 2009 alone, 112 new networks were deployed.
“Despite the global economy, WiMAX is going strong in 2009,” said Ron Resnick, president and chairman of the WiMAX Forum. “The WiMAX Forum membership has continued to bring WiMAX to new markets, certify devices and keep the spirit of delivering mobile Internet services to people throughout the world.”
In the meantime, many of the existing WiMAX networks are expanding rapidly. For example, Russian operator Yota has signed up 250,000 active commercial users and its subscribers to WiMAX network are increasing by 2,300 every day.
The Forum said FDD WiMAX was accepted into the IMT-2000 family of standards and more than 50 companies endorsed the IEEE 802.16m IMT-Advanced candidate proposal for a future-proof roadmap.
“We expect 2010 to bring new innovations to the WiMAX ecosystem with completion of the IEEE 802.16m standard, commercialization of the global roaming program and new WiMAX Forum programs to help bring certified devices to retail channels faster,” Ron added.
These days, according to the Forum, suppliers and operators are committing to build and trial WiMAX Release 2 based on the IEEE 802.16m standard. These ecosystem backers included Alvarion, Beceem, Cisco, Clearwire, Huawei, Intel, KT, Motorola, Samsung, Sequans, UQC, Yota and ZTE (News - Alert).
The WiMAX Forum also announced that in 2010 it will finalize its WiMAX Release 2 specification in parallel with IEEE 802.16m and IMT-Advanced, ensuring that WiMAX Release 2 networks and devices will remain backward compatible with legacy WiMAX Release 1 based on IEEE 802.16e.
In April 2009, 65 product models from six vendors (Acer, Asus, Lenovo, MSI, Samsung, Toshiba) with WiMAX embedded chipsets were introduced to the Russian market. In 2010, Yota expects to add a new GSM + Mobile WiMAX phone supporting VoIP over WiMAX.
Meanwhile, Clearwire has reached more than 555,000 subscribers; its network covers more than 30 million consumers in 34 markets and has an ARPU of nearly $40. Malaysia’s Packet One (News - Alert) Networks, which celebrated its first anniversary of operations this year, has reached 130,000 subscribers. KT covers more than half of the Korean population, and UQ Communications now covers more than half of Japan’s population, offering services to consumers via more than 20 MVNO partners.
Imagine launched its 4G Mobile WiMAX network deployment to cover Ireland, which will also reduce the average cost of broadband and phone services by as much as 50 percent. Freedom4 received the green light to offer fully mobile WiMAX services in the UK using its nationwide 3.6GHz spectrum, after regulator Ofcom granted the operator a license variation.
Equipment vendors have also seen tremendous growth in 2009. Motorola (News - Alert) recently announced it shipped its 10,000th WiMAX Access Point and one millionth WiMAX CPE. In 2008, Huawei achieved a 200 percent increase in WiMAX revenue and expects to achieve that same level of growth by the close of 2009.
Alvarion now supplies more than 260 commercial network deployments in more than 100 countries. Intel launched notebooks with its embedded Wi-Fi/WiMAX minicard solution in the U.S., Russia and Japan; these were embedded into 80 notebook models from almost a dozen of the world’s leading PC manufacturers.
Those manufacturers already have a solid pipeline of new models underway incorporating Intel’s next generation Kilmer Peak module with tri-band radio support for global WiMAX networks. Finally, Beceem Communications (News - Alert) announced more than three million 4G WiMAX terminal chipset shipments in 2009 alone.
“In the tough economic climate of 2009, WiMAX continued to make significant strides,” said Daryl Schoolar (News - Alert), principal analyst, wireless infrastructure at Current Analysis.
Narayan Bhat is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Narayan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Erin Harrison