Make-or-break time for Wimax, says report


Mobile Wimax networks are being rolled out more slowly than expected because of a lack of spectrum and finance, says Juniper Research.

The slow rollout means service revenues will grow more slowly than forecast a year ago, a new study concluded.

But it predicted that revenues from Wimax 802.16e broadband subscribers would exceed $15 billion globally by 2014.

Wimax promised an improved experience for broadband customers receiving low-speed DSL or cable modem services, or at the limit of DSL coverage, Juniper said. It says mobile Wimax has a role to play in providing broadband in developing countries where there is no wired network.

“However, Wimax is faced by spectrum auction postponements in several countries, funding problems from the credit crunch, and slow network implementations, all combining to handicap network operators signing up subscribers,” the research firm said.

“These factors – some of which are outside the control of the Wimax ecosystem - are holding back the market.

“Whilst market leaders such as Clearwire are launching services and expanding internationally, there are also well-publicized challenges for Wimax such as those highlighted by French regulator ARCEP. We're on the cusp of make or break time for Wimax,” said analyst Howard Wilcox, who authored the report.

Wilcox said it was time the Wimax ecosystem began translating trials into “reliable, commercial services that attract customers.”

He predicted that North America, east Asia and western Europe together would account for 70% of market by 2014. Africa and the Middle East, South America, India and eastern Europe would together be worth $4 billion by 2014.