At the end of 2008, only 11% of worldwide wireless subscriptions were 3G. By the end of 2013, the percentage of 3G and 4G subscriptions will reach 30%, reports In-Stat. This trend is reflected in fourth quarter 2008 wireless infrastructure contract awards.
WiMAX will have to prove itself over the next couple of years with the rise of HSPA and LTE. In-Stat expects mobile WiMAX to be attractive in developing countries and remote locations in which fixed broadband networks are not yet deployed. It is still unknown whether or not mobile WiMAX will be competitive in locations with existing 3G cellular and fixed broadband networks.
Based on contract awards, WiMAX deployments are remaining resilient in the face of the economic slowdown, although some operators are slowing the deployment rate. The WiMAX equipment heavyweights of Alcatel-Lucent, Alvarion, Motorola and Samsung are benefitting from the trend. Other vendors to watch include Cisco, Huawei and ZTE.
Research* by In-Stat found that 802.16e, the mobile standard for WiMAX, has been mainly deployed for fixed and nomadic services. Clearwire, Korea Telecom, and UQ of Japan are among a few notable exceptions that are embracing 802.16e for mobile data applications.
There were 132 announced deployments in the fourth quarter of 2008, consisting of 95 HSPA, 18 WCDMA, 12 mobile WiMAX, six CDMA EV-DO, and one TD SCDMA.
Based on the contract award activity over the past few quarters, In-Stat expects most of the deployments through new live networks to be WiMAX and HSPA. In-Stat has seen a significant slowdown in contracts for WCDMA and CDMA EV-DO equipment.