WiMAX faces obstacles in China

Yes, says a recent InStat report, WiMAX has a very good opportunity to expand China's market for fixed, portable, and mobile broadband access. WiMAX development in China, however, is still facing significant barriers: immature 802.16e product, competition from the 3G industry, and uncertain spectrum allocation. As a result, equipment and subscriber forecasts depend on how the industry deals with these issues. "WiMAX does have many advantages in cost, flexibility and deployment convenience," says In-Stat's Kevin Li. "WiMAX is a data network access technology, which means no circuit switching (CS) domain is required, whereas 3G, the alternative technology, is divided into CS and packet switching (PS) domains, which carry voice and data, respectively."

Among the report's findings:

  • In an aggressive scenario, the subscriber base will increase from 8,000 in 2005 to 3,525,070 by 2010.
  • In a conservative scenario, the subscriber base will grow to 1,234,120 by 2010.
  • In early 2006, China Netcom began to deploy WiMAX 802.16-2004 systems (3.5GHz) for fixed wireless access (voice and data) in the Guangdong province, aimed at SMBs and the residential market.

For more on China's WiMAX prospects:
- see summary of In-Stat's report