WiMAX Featured Articles

More WiMAX Community Stories

January 07, 2011

Upswing Projected for BWA/4GWiMAX Subscriber Base

By Mini Swamy
TMCnet Contributor

Maravedis is a global provider of market intelligence and advisory services focusing on 4G and broadband wireless technologies, as well as industry regulations and market trends. According to the latest market statistics that were released, there appears to be a clear indication that the BWA/WiMAX (News - Alert) subscriber base is going to grow very rapidly.

At the end of 4Q 2010, more than 600 deployments, 213 devices and 61 base stations were certified, and the worldwide WiMAX industry accounted for more than 13 million subscribers.

However, the subscribers were not evenly distributed amongst the WiMAX operators. The top 50 operators accounted for more than 65 percent of the 13 million subscribers, indicating that it was a highly concentrated industry.

Findings with reference to the top 50 WiMAX operators revealed that ARPU generated during 4Q 2010 across all regions was $37.98 for residential and $71.45 for business. Total year-end revenues in 2010 showed an upswing when compared to 2009. Handsets grabbed the largest market share with over 2.59 million units closely followed by 2.42 million USB dongles and 2.35 million PCMCIA cards. The top 50 WiMAX operators installed base station sectors accounted for over 50 percent of those installed globally.

According to 13th issue of the 4GCounts quarterly report from Maravedis (News - Alert), the last quarter of 2010 witnessed an addition of 3.7 million new BWA/WiMAX subscribers. It projected that another 5.5 million would be added in 2011. This would indicate that the subscriber base for BWA/WiMAX should reach 18.5 million by the end of 2011. LTE (News - Alert) was expected to be way behind with an expected 6.5 million subscriber base.

Fifty-eight FDD-LTE and three TD-LTE networks were expected to be operational worldwide by the end of 2011, while the number of FDD-LTE and TD-LTE operator commitments was slated to reach 222 and 25, respectively. 

In a press release, Esteban Monturus, co-author of the report, said, "As several 4G spectrum auctions take place in the first half of 2011, mainly in Europe, more operators will feel the need to confirm their plans regarding LTE." 

Report co-author Basharat Ashai spoke of the state of LTE in India and said that there had been a shift in momentum among Indian BWA licensees, with many of them opting for TD-LTE. He also added, “In India operators are preparing to deploy LTE in the recently allocated 2.3 GHz TDD spectrum. Reliance has finally confirmed its plan to deploy TD-LTE technology to build out its 4G network. "

4GCounts Team Leader Cintia Garza explained that TD-LTE would grow selectively in countries with TDD spectrum allocation and this included China, Germany, Malaysia and India. 

Garza added that 55 percent of the operators that were committed to LTE would use FDD with the option of adding TDD at a later date, and 25 percent would use FDD-LTE with no likelihood of deploying TDD.

Additionally, operators were generally looking for hybrid networks in which they can have a mixed deployment of both TDD and FDD so as to take advantage of their spectrum resources in both domains.

With operators now having alternatives to managing the data traffic explosion, mobile data traffic has continued to grow exponentially while revenues for mobile operators have not grown proportionally. Introducing usage-based pricing is the easiest way for operators to manage users' expectations and behavior.

Want to learn more about 4G? Visit the 4GWE Conference to be held Feb. 2-4 in Miami. Collocated with ITEXPO East 2011, the 4GWE Conference will focus on the realities of deploying 4G technologies and delivering broadband wireless applications to a growing community of wireless broadband consumers. Don’t wait. Register now.

Mini Swamy is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

comments powered by Disqus