Top 22 Operators Account for 50% of Total WiMAX Subscribers
Published on: 30th March 2009
The top 22 WiMAX operators worldwide will contribute nearly 2.5 million subscribers by the end of 2009 - up from 1.24 million today - and close to 4 million by the end of 2010 according to the latest research report from Maravedis.
Operators selected for the report enjoy two key conditions: they have deep enough pockets to deploy major networks and have access to sufficient spectrum to be profitable in the long term. In fact 46% of operators interviewed have 50MHz or more of spectrum, while 45% have more than US$100 million in cash. These operators include obvious names such as Clearwire, and also operators who currently enjoy a relatively small subscriber base, but for whom Maravedis believes there is great potential, such as Scartel (Russia). Other such "strategic" operators include: UQ Communications (Japan), Far EasTone (Taiwan), BSNL (India) and Telmex International.
Of fundamental importance to many operators is how to bring forward new deployments that can support market demands for higher bandwidth and a richer mix of applications and content. "A major focus of this report is to provide insights of the plans and experiences of the top 22 operators. At this volatile juncture, it is important to keep close tabs on evolution of network deployments and services", said Adlane Fellah, CEO of Maravedis.
"Interestingly, 42% of these operators are considering or planning to deploy LTE," said Cintia Garza, Senior Analyst and co-author of the report. "Networks have been dominated so far by standalone CPEs as well PC peripherals such as USB dongles and PC cards. Embedded multimode devices are only emerging in the last few months thanks to operators such as Scartel," added Garza.
Although the top 22 WiMAX operators enjoy the support of strong investor groups and deep pockets to offset limited credit facilities, they are still impacted by the financial crisis. Given the current global economic uncertainty, wireless capital expenditures by most of the top WiMAX operators are predicted to slow down in 2009. "Furthermore, some operators are feeling pressure from not having the right spectrum or sufficient spectrum to achieve their deployment plans," added Basharat Ashai, co-author of the report.
"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," noted Robert Syputa, Partner & Senior Analyst.
- 47% of current networks account for less than 10,000 subscribers
- 75% of operators have more than 10 million POP covered
- Operators are generating an average ARPU of US$35 for residential services and US$93 for business services
- 33% of operators use only microwave radios for their backhaul
- 52% plan to deploy femtocells in the next 24 months
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