There are WiMAX deployments scattered across the world, but emerging markets, short on broadband offerings, accounted for more than 60% of WiMAX subscribers globally in 2007 found Pyramid Research in it's latest report, WiMAX in Emerging Markets: Operator Lessons in Strategy and Technology.
"Through 2012, emerging markets will account for most WiMAX subscribers, who will primarily use it for fixed or portable Internet access," comments Özgür Aytar, Senior Research Manager for Pyramid Research’s Broadband & Media Practice and author of the report.
Operators in these markets have generally positioned WiMAX as a DSL substitute, providing mainly fixed or portable Internet access services. The WiMAX operators that were examined in Pyramid's WiMAX in Emerging Markets report have been adding new customers at a rate of 500-1,000 per month, with more than 70% of the current customer base coming in from the SME and SOHO segments.
While initial deployments have been in underserved areas, these operators are increasingly competing head-to-head with DSL networks. In suburban and urban areas, operators claim that more than half of their customers previously subscribed to DSL or dial-up services, and they have seen unexpected demand in the residential market.
“The majority of the commercial networks are based on the 802.16d standard,” says Aytar, “but moving forward we expect 802.16e-based equipment to gain traction.”
Operators with 802.16d-based networks have not expressed a sense of urgency about migrating to mobile WiMAX, however.
“We expect global WiMAX subscribers to grow from just over 2.1m in 2007 to 41m in 2012, with emerging markets accounting for 57% of all customers in 2012,” concludes Aytar.