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Business Services to Drive WiMax Success in AME Markets

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The business segment in Africa and the Middle East should be the main focus of WiMAX operators as fixed WiMAX's contribution to fixed business broadband subscriptions is expected to more than quadruple by 2014, according to a new report from Pyramid Research.

"Africa and the Middle East is witnessing one of the fastest growth rates for WiMAX adoption globally," notes Dearbhla McHenry, analyst at Pyramid Research and author of the report. "WiMAX service offerings were virtually unheard of before 2007 in the region; while the global average fixed service penetration of population stood at 22 percent at year-end 2008, AME's penetration level stood at 9 percent for the same period, the lowest among all regions," she says. "By year-end 2009, Pyramid expects WiMAX to contribute about 2 percent of total fixed broadband subscriptions in AME, a higher share than in any other region globally except for Latin America."

"In addition to a generally supportive regulatory environment, telcos are finding WiMAX's scaleability and cost-effectiveness in high-density areas to be a major advantage compared with a time-consuming and costly overhaul of inadequate fixed networks or with rolling out new wired infrastructure - this is especially true in AME where fixed penetration is still low even in urban areas, which translates into a low-competition high-growth environment," says McHenry.

The business segment should be the main focus of WiMAX operators in the region. "Business consumers have more sophisticated connectivity needs than residential consumers, involving dedicated high-speed point-to-point connections, high capacity for both uplink and downlink, bundled VoIP service, back-up systems, dedicated international bandwidth, and so on," McHenry explains. "These are all within WiMAX technical capabilities but cannot be guaranteed over 3G," she adds. "Because of these factors, we expect fixed WiMAX's contribution to fixed business broadband subscriptions to more than quadruple in 2014, reaching 8 percent, compared with less than 2 percent in 2009."

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Tags: wimax  broadband  uplink  wired  africa  true