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1.45 Million BWA/WiMAX Subscribers Added in 2008

Worldwide, approximately 1.45 million BWA/WiMAX subscribers were added during 2008, while the WCDMA subscriber base increased by more than 90 million. The average quarter-over-quarter subscriber growth rate in 2008 was 21.5 percent, according to the 7th issue of the 4GCounts Quarterly Report from Maravedis.

“Total BWA/WiMAX revenues for 2008 totaled $1.82 billion, compared $898.78 million in 2007 – a 102 percent annual revenue increase despite the economic downturn that began affecting operator revenues in Q3 2008,” noted Maravedis CEO and founder Adlane Fellah.

“2008 was a difficult year for most WiMAX vendors, which accelerated both market consolidation and niche specialization in order to survive the downturn,” said Cintia Garza, co-author of the report and 4GCounts team leader. “Because many operators are planning to deploy mobile WiMAX equipment, devices based on 802.16-2004 experienced a slow down,” she added.

While LTE networks are yet to become commercial, vendors have stepped up availability of the prerequisite network planning tools, test and measurement systems; LTE and multi-mode ICs and devices are scheduled to become available later in 2009. Progress has been made both on 3G-LTE systems and on the next generation LTE-Advanced version. The impact of the economy on life-cycle extension of 3G and commercial momentum for LTE is of key interest,” commented Robert Syputa, partner and senior analyst.

“Government and service industries are expected to be the top spenders on vertical applications. As WiMAX operators roll out their networks worldwide, increased availability of coverage will accelerate adoption of vertical services,” noted Basharat Ashai, co-author of the report.

Key findings of the report included:

  • The Middle East and Africa were the fastest growing regions for WiMAX in 2008.
  • Operators across all regions generated residential and business ARPUs of $43.8 and $122 respectively.
  • The number of base station sectors deployed during Q4 2008 totaled 138,162; an increase of 14 percent from 121,269 the previous quarter.
  • Operators have faced various problems when deploying their base stations, including a lack of capacity.
  • One of the largest deployments we expect in terms of numbers of CPEs and base stations sectors installed is BSNL (India).
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