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Latin America's WiMAX Market to Surpass $1 Billion in Revenues During 2009-2013

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Signals Telecom Consulting has published a couple of reports which estimate that Latin America's WiMAX market is to to surpass US$1.04 Billion in revenues during 2009 2013. WiMAX will also account for around 1.8% of broadband connections in the region over the same time frame.

The reports reveals that the WiMAX business model is developing from being an alternative to wired broadband access into a means for strengthening operator offer through service bundling.

"Delays in the certifying of equipment and the building of economies of scale that were promised by the Xhom and Clearwire launches in the United States, added to negative announcements on WiMAX by Alcatel Lucent, Nortel Networks and Nokia Mobile, have deprived launches of new operations using this technology of their dynamism. We have however noted cases, such as that of Embratel in Brazil, where WiMAX is used to penetrate markets where operators still do not have a fixed line network, to be able to wire them later with HFC networks," indicated Carlos Blanco, Market Research Director for Signals Telecom Consulting and author of the reports.

High customer acquisition costs, wireless broadband access service proliferation by means of HSPA and lower speeds than those available via wired alternatives such as DSL or cable modem have been the main barriers faced by WiMAX in its attempt to position itself as a viable alternative broadband connection in urban centers.

"We are increasingly noting a greater positioning of WiMAX as a support technology for the service offer that operators already have available, particularly in areas that lack wired alternatives, or as in the case of Ertach Argentina, when it provides a clear advantage over fixed line operators, in this instance because of its greater geographical coverage. The deployment of WiMAX by UNE Telecomunicaciones in Colombia, launched originally under the Orbitel brand, shows how the launch of this technology focused on the mass market without any type of differentiation with the existing broadband offer has little chance of success, as it has shown negative growth in the last few months of 2008," concluded Jose F. Otero, president of Signals Telecom Consulting.

In total, at 1Q09 there are 26 operators offering wireless broadband services by means of various WiMAX technologies, or that have indicated their intention to migrate their networks to 802.16 technologies in the medium term.

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