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[December 22, 2004]

Wavesat First in with WiMAX Chips, but ABI Research Says Giants Closing Fast

Wavesat, the smallest of the three most prominent developers of WiMAX ICs, has announced availability of its sixth generation OFDM chip, the DM256, very close to its target date.

This, the first shipping product to comply with the IEEE 802.16-2004 standard, marks a milestone in the development of WiMAX infrastructure, says Philip Solis, senior analyst, wireless connectivity at ABI Research.

ABI Research's recent study, "WiMAX / 802.16: Opportunities for High Speed Wireless Data in Enterprise, SOHO, Residential and Portable (802.16e) Markets" assessed Wavesat's goal as "to beat Intel and Fujitsu Microelectronics America to market and gain a first-to-market advantage." And that is exactly what they have done.

However, this first chip is a baseband-only unit; and while Wavesat has enlisted Atmel to build the radio component, and is itself developing subscriber unit MAC software and complete base station and subscriber unit reference designs, Solis says that the Wavesat's massive competitors are breathing down its neck.

"As a smaller company," he notes, "Wavesat can be more nimble, and has stolen this first march, but Intel and Fujitsu Microelectronics already have secured relationships with customers who will wait until they release their own products early next year. And when those milestones occur, Wavesat's huge adversaries will have much greater production capacity."

Also, Solis cautions, all the new chips must go through WiMAX certification.

ABI Research's study profiles companies involved with WiMAX and includes forecasts of subscribers by region in various market segments Equipment forecasts for both BTS and CPE equipment are provided as well, including shipments, ASPs and revenues by region, in each market segment.

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