WiMAX Subscribers to Approach 50M by 2014

WiMAX 802.16e broadband subscribers will approach 50 million globally by 2014, driven by the need to provide broadband to underserved areas, according to new data from Juniper Research.

The research firm found that WiMAX will provide easier and more cost-effective broadband connectivity in areas where it is logistically challenging and, therefore, expensive to install wired networks.

WiMAX 16e however has faced a number of well publicized delays that have handicapped network operators, resulting in slower subscriber growth than anticipated previously, Juniper Research noted. Nonetheless, the firm said, there are examples of successful service providers in a range of countries from Pakistan to the United States.

“WiMAX 16e will have opportunities not just in developing countries but also areas of developed countries where the DSL coverage is weak or non-existent,” explained report author Howard Wilcox. “The key for the industry ecosystem now is to overcome the challenges and ensure trials evolve into commercial services quickly.”

The Juniper Research study also found some network operators are targeting specific niches such as high-end business broadband, or cable modem customers in addition to DSL metro and rural applications.

The highest number of subscribers will be in the Far East & China region largely due to the region’s status as an early adopter. Western Europe and, to a lesser extent, North America, are forecast to be driven by DSL churn and broadband provision in underserved areas. Africa & Middle East is set to exceed Western Europe with in excess of 15 percent of the subscriber base in 2014. This region is driven largely by growth of broadband connectivity to underserved and unserved areas, rather than faster connections.

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