WiMAX begins to gain momentum

Forecast Asia/Pacific growth to hit three figures over next five years

The WiMAX broadband wireless access technology is expected to begin gathering momentum in the Asia/Pacific region, with WiMAX services revenues estimated to grow from $US58 million in 2007 to $US5.46 billion by 2012, according to Springboard Research. That growth translates to a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 148 per cent for the period.

Springboard estimated the number of WiMAX subscribers will grow from 230,000 in 2007 to 33.9 million by 2012. Mobile WiMAX services are estimated to garner a significant majority of revenues and subscribers compared to fixed WiMAX services during the forecast period.

Springboard analysts also predicted that India and Japan will be the largest markets for WiMAX in the region by 2012, with an estimated 35.7 per cent, and 16.9 per cent share, respectively, of the total regional market, followed by Pakistan and China.

"The next couple of years will be critical for WiMAX growth in Asia Pacific, and during that time, we are expecting services to be available for end-users in more than 10 countries," said Bryan Wang, research director of connectivity research at Springboard.

"The majority of WiMAX subscribers will be from Korea, Pakistan, India, and Australia. At the same time, billions of dollars of investment is going to be spent on WiMAX infrastructures over the next five years, which also creates a big potential market for telecom equipment manufacturers," Mr. Wang added.

"We see tremendous potential for WiMAX deployment in many emerging markets in the region, which have struggled to extend fixed line/broadband infrastructure beyond a few big cities and into the rural and poorer areas," Wang added.

Springboard asserted that Australia will register WiMAX infrastructure investments worth an estimated $US500 million by 2012 on the back of aggressive plans by key players, Unwired and OPEL Ventures (a government-funded entity). The total market for WiMAX services in Australia is estimated to be $US123.6 million by 2012.

In Japan, Mobile WiMAX services are expected to monopolise the market as UQ Communications is slated to become the largest WiMAX operator, with the total market slated to grow to $US924.5 million by 2012.

Len Rust is editor of The Rust Report

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