1.45 Million BWA/WiMAX Subscribers Added in 2008

Worldwide, approximately 1.45 million Broadband Wireless Access (BWA)/WiMAX subscribers were added during 2008, while the WCDMA subscriber base increased by more than 90 million. The average quarter-over-quarter subscriber growth rate in 2008 was 21.5%, according to the 7th issue of the 4GCounts Quarterly Report from Maravedis.

Total BWA/WiMAX revenues for 2008 totaled US$1.82 billion, compared US$898.78 million in 2007 - a 102% annual revenue increase despite the economic downturn that began affecting operator revenues in Q3 2008.

2008 was a difficult year for most WiMAX vendors, which resulted in the accelerated both market consolidation and niche specialization to survive the downturn. As many operators are planning to deploy mobile WiMAX equipment, devices based on 802.16-2004 experienced a slow down.

While LTE networks are yet to become commercial, vendors have stepped up availability of the prerequisite network planning tools, test and measurement systems; LTE and multi-mode integrated circuits and devices are scheduled to become available later in 2009. Progress has been made both on 3G-LTE systems and on the next generation LTE-Advanced version. The impact of the economy on life-cycle extension of 3G and commercial momentum for LTE is of key interest.

Government and service industries are expected to be the top spenders on vertical applications. As WiMAX operators roll out their networks worldwide, increased availability of coverage will accelerate adoption of vertical services.

The key findings for the fourth quarter were;

  • the Middle East and Africa were the fastest growing regions for WiMAX in 2008;
  • operators across all regions generated residential and business ARPUs of US$43.8  and US$122 respectively;
  • the number of base station sectors deployed during Q4 2008 totalled 138,162; an increase of 14% from 121,269 the previous quarter;
  • operators have faced various problems when deploying their base stations, including a lack of capacity;
  • one of the largest deployments we expect in terms of numbers of CPEs and base stations sectors installed is BSNL (India).

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