Infonetics: Strong Growth Shows WiMAX Is Working

The WiMAX equipment sector is up for the third consecutive quarter, signaling continuing opportunity for growth in the 4G mobile broadband technology, according to an analyst firm. The number of WiMAX subscribers jumped 75 percent in 2009, to 6.8 million worldwide.

“The WiMAX market is coming out of the recession period strongly, posting three consecutive quarters of revenue growth for 802.16e equipment and devices,” said Richard Webb, Infonetics’ directing analyst for WiMAX. “With Clearwire in the U.S. announcing strong quarterly results, Yota in Russia expanding rapidly, and others such as UQ in Japan being aggressive, the WiMAX business model seems to be working. Though we are still in the early days, WiMAX is proving to be a good fit in a range of broadband segments in developed as well as developing markets.”

Worldwide vendor revenue from 802.16d and 802.16e WiMAX network equipment and devices hit $1.08 billion in 2009, down 19 percent from 2008, as the market suffered the effects of the recession. However, The fourth quarter of 2009 was the third consecutive quarter of WiMAX equipment and device revenue growth, up 3 percent from the third quarter. Quarterly revenue levels do still remain short of the pre-recession market highs of over $300 million seen in early 2008

The WiMAX market is showing positive signs of steady growth from this year onward, with major rollouts underway in USA, Japan, Russia, and India, Infonetics noted. Starting in 2011-2012, 802.16m WiMAX products are expected to be tested, certified and commercially available, offering speeds comparable to LTE, which may translate into further growth.

For the combined WiMAX equipment and device market, Motorola Inc. took the No. 1 spot in 2009, with 17 percent of worldwide revenue, just ahead of Alvarion Ltd. Huawei showed the biggest growth in WiMAX equipment and device market share in 2009.

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