Led By India, WiMAX Growing Fast

[qi:gigaom_icon_4G] WiMAX is only now getting some traction in the U.S., thanks to rollouts by Clearwire (s CLWR), but overseas the wireless broadband technology is actually growing at a rapid clip. According to Infonetics, a market research company, WiMAX is gaining traction in India, Russia and Brazil, primarily because carriers there see it as a way to provide basic broadband and VoIP-based voice service.┬áIn countries where telecom services yield a low average revenue per user (ARPU), WiMAX is getting traction largely because it’s cheaper to deploy compared to a fixed-line infrastructure. Most of these countries also have very low telecom density. Some interesting facts from Infonetics’ report:

  • Brazil will have 13 million WiMAX subscribers in 2013 vs. 184,000 in 2008.
  • In Central and Eastern Europe, 20 operators are offering VoIP-over-WiMAX.
  • Russia currently has 10 WiMAX networks either under development or currently in operation.
  • There are more than 80 WiMAX networks currently active in more than 35 African countries.

ms09_wmc_chart-1.jpg“India, because of its scale, and the U.S., because of Clearwire’s profile, are the two most prominent markets for WiMAX, and both are absolutely critical to its fortunes,” writes Infonetics analyst Richard Webb in the report. “Adoption levels and network performance in India and the US will dictate how WiMAX is perceived in a global context, and thus how prominent a position 802.16e takes in the overall wireless landscape in the next decade.” The report goes on to note that:

After a slowdown during the recession in 2009, WiMAX adoption in the U.S. will be healthy, led by Clearwire and a growing number of small-town and rural deployments by other operators, many benefiting from rural broadband stimulus funding…In Japan, mobile WiMAX adoption is growing, with a battle brewing between operator UQ’s mobile WiMAX network (in partnership with KDDi) and NTT DoCoMo’s LTE rollout.