Research firm IDC predicts LTE equipment spending will surpass spending in the WiMAX market by the end of 2011, news that represents another voice in the chorus trumpeting LTE's market momentum. The firm predicts LTE equipment spending will reach around $8 billion by 2014.
However, despite LTE's momentum, IDC noted several ecosystem challenges, including unclear spectrum regimes in many global markets as well as varying levels of commitments from operators.
Nonetheless, the research firm said all LTE vendors--from Ericsson to smaller vendors such as Fujitsu--are intensifying their go-to-market efforts this year, which is increasing pressure on all of the players. Additionally, Nokia Siemens Networks and Alcatel-Lucent are continuing their battle to remain relevant next to Ericsson and Huawei, according to IDC.
IDC's report comes on the heels of a similar one by Infonetics Research, which predicted the LTE infrastructure market will reach $11.4 billion in 2014, fueled by macrocell deployments. Additionally, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association recently reported that there are now 64 operators committed to deploying LTE networks in 31 countries worldwide, up from 31 operator commitments the GSA identified a year ago.
In the face of this growing LTE momentum the WIMAX community is not standing still. The WiMAX Forum announced a new retail plan aimed at expanding the number of WiMAX devices worldwide and reducing internal operator testing costs. The Forum has also increased its efforts to deliver the next-generation version of WiMAX, formally known as 802.16m. The standard, which is being marketed as WiMAX 2, promises faster speeds and improved performance. Intel, Motorola and other leading WiMAX vendors--under the banner of the WiMAX 2 Collaboration Initiative, or WCI--are pushing the development of the WiMAX 2 ecosystem and will work with the WiMAX Forum to ensure interoperability.
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