WiMAX Deployments Hit by Economic Downturn
Published on: 3rd February 2009
BWA/WiMAX subscribers worldwide reached 2.68 million in Q3 2008 - a more modest 13% growth over the first quarter and a 91% increase over Q3 2007, according to the 6th issue of the WiMAXCounts Quarterly Report from Maravedis.
Global service revenue growth is losing pace as WiMAX operators experience ARPU stagnation and slowing down, or even decline (as in the case of WiBro in Korea), in WiMAX adoption. The economic downturn is accelerating the shift in consumer spending towards flat rates for broadband wireless and replacement of landline services.
"These are very difficult times for mobile WiMAX as both vendors such as Telsima and leading WiMAX operators such as Tata are struggling to fund their WiMAX plans noted Adlane Fellah," CEO and Founder of Maravedis. "Further, in the PR battle, mobile WiMAX has been losing momentum in favor of LTE as it becomes clear that LTE will become the dominant 4G technology among Tier 1 mobile operators worldwide," he added.
"The picture is not all bleak however. More mobile WIMAX enabled devices were certified during the quarter, and the growth rate for base station sector deployments continues to outpace that of CPEs, which indicates that networks are expanding ahead of the adoption curve," noted Cintia Garza, co-author of the report and WiMAXCounts team leader.
"It is important to keep in mind that WiMAX is just now entering a phase of commercial availability that makes volume applications including machine to machine, utility monitoring, metro-wide mobile broadband and embedded consumer applications feasible. In addition, the lean WiMAX ecosystem has already reached price points for ICs, modules and devices to compete in volume markets," explained Robert Syputa, Partner & Senior Analyst.
- WiMAX deployments in 2009-2010 are revised to more modest projections
- The average subscriber base per deployment remains very modest at 15,000 and contributes to the lack of volumes facing the emerging device ecosystem.
- Clearwire USA continues to be the top operator in terms of the number of subscribers, with 469,000 subscribers in the United States at the end of Q3 2008 - an increase of 1.54% compared with 461,850 subscribers reported in Q2 2008.
- The split by subscriber type among WiMAXCounts operators remained steady at 64% residential and 36% business.
- The average number of subscribers per operator was 15,131 for WISPs and 9,023 for CLECs in Q3 2008, compared to 14,708 and 7,189 respectively in the previous quarter.
- Q3 2008 recorded ARPU was US$46.45 and US$125.48 for residential and business subscribers respectively, compared to US$46.70 and US$135.30 for the same segments in Q2 2008.
- Q3 2008 BWA/WiMAX service revenues among WiMAXCounts operators totaled US$492 million a 15% increase from the previous quarter.
- The total number of BWA/WiMAX CPE deployed as of September 2008 reached 2.68 million units, up 15% from the 2.33 million tracked in June 2008.
- A total of 121,269 base station sectors were deployed as of Q3 2008, a 37% increase from the previous quarter.