Mobile broadband: Looking good

Mar 03, 2009 5:10 am
By Sam Churchill at Daily Wireless
A number of market researchers and industry organizations are crunching the 2008 industry numbers this week and guessing what the broadband wireless market will look like in 2009 (and beyond). Wireless broadband technology will be able to withstand the current economic downturn says the WiMAX Forum. They estimate at least 100 more operators will launch commercial services this year. The Forum says WiMAX now covers 430 million people (POPS), globally and are on a path to nearly double to 800 million people by end of 2010 and explode to 18 million by 2012. In-Stat forecasts LTE will have 23 million subscribers by 2013, but nearly 82 million mobile PCs with WiMax will ship in 2013. The forum expects for WiMAX to continue to capitalize on its head start on LTE. Still, Dr. Mohammad Shakouri, the forum’s VP of marketing, said, “Due to the financial situation, the growth rate of deployments will slow down. Everyone is watching their cash.”

Shakouri questions the willingness of companies to invest in LTE because of the current economic downturn, reports RCR Wireless. He said WiMAX does not face this issue because investments have already been made in the technology. Shakouri is hopeful that money set aside for broadband deployments in the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act can help jump start WiMAX operators. Congress has set aside $7.2 billion for telecom-related programs, with $6.39 billion to be doled out in grants and loans to promote broadband in rural areas that don’t have access to the technology or are underserved. So far, Mobile WiMAX is being offered in just two cities, Baltimore and Portland, Ore. On March 5th, Clearwire will announce which cities will be added next in the United States. Another nine cities are expected to roll out this year. According to research firm In-Stat, WiMAX will continue to outpace LTE over the next few years and the technologies will take different paths. Verizon Wireless is expected to launch LTE commercially sometime next year but most operators will wait until 2011 or 2012.
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