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March 04, 2010

Mobile WiMAX Subscriber Numbers Surpass Fixed for the First Time: Report

By Jai C.S.
TMCnet Contributor

As per the 10th issue of the 4GCounts Quarterly Report from Maravedis (News - Alert), 4.73 million active BWA/WiMAX subscribers were reached by the end of the third quarter 2009, and for the first time, the number of mobile WiMAX (News - Alert) subscribers surpassed the number of fixed WiMAX subscribers worldwide.
WiMAX embedded devices are slowly growing their share of the installed base, says the analyst.
According to Cintia Garza, co-author of the report and 4GCounts team leader, 77 percent of CPEs installed in the third quarter 2009 were indoor CPEs with over 3.6 million units, followed by USB dongles, 595,000 units or 13 percent, and, PCMCIA cards, 244,000 units or 5 percent.
Report indicates that, a progress in the second half of 2009 in terms of new LTE (News - Alert) operator commitments – 51 by the end of the quarter – but also in terms of device certification scheme and the chipset development.
“Although dual mode devices including GSM, EVDO, and LTE are not yet commercially available, the first engineering samples of dual-mode chipsets were shipped in early 2009,” said Esteban Monturus, 4GCounts analyst for Europe. “Devices will become available in the second half of 2010 for dongles/embedded applications, but not until 2011 for handsets and lower power devices such as MiFi WiFi (News - Alert) routers.”
MARAVEDIS is a top analyst firm focusing on disruptive technologies including smart networks using WiMAX, IEEE (News - Alert), and 3GPP/LTE. The company has been working with system and service providers, vendors, regulators, and institutional investors. 4GCounts is a unique web-based service tracking 4G operator deployments and providing detailed information on the worldwide 4G ecosystem. 4GCounts currently profiles over 200 operators across 92 countries.
According to the 4GCounts 10th issue, the average residential and business ARPU generated among operators during the third quarter 2009 across all regions was $41 and $121, respectively. BWA/WiMAX base station sectors installed as of the third quarter 2009 totaled 201,355 which is an increase of 25 percent from 160,882 the previous quarter. Also, the report says that 85 percent of WiMAX operators have offered unlimited data usage compared to 41 percent of 3G operators. This proportion, according to the analyst, will gradually decrease as operators look for new ways to manage data consumption.

Jai C.S. is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Jai's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Kelly McGuire

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