Led By India, WiMAX Growing Fast

17 Comments

[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. In 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.

17 Comments

Ritesh Verma

Sir,the article was fantastic..but i think Wimax does have a hard time with the 3G lobby here.Becos something similar about wimax as a disrpuptive technology ,i found in IEEE spectrum an year back.Its too early to predict about the scenario in india…though i readily agree dat when it may be a different case when computers and digital services are also WiMax ready!!

Malick

The WiMax scene in India is presently used only for corporate broadband wireless networking and the consumer models are yet to be rolled out. I think the true proliferation will take place when it is available for the general public and consumers when the computers and digital devices are also WiMax ready/enabled.

Malick
India

Cheese

While there’s a lot of truth in all claims and counter claims here about the possibilities and limitations of wimax, one needs to understand the business environments where it will be applied. If wimax becomes a reality in the Indian villages (as an affordable VOIP phone), it need not be in the form of the mobile phone that we all know – it might be a community phone (reminding you of Graham Bell rather than Steve Jobs) fixed securely to the wall of a community building such as a village post office. Of course it could also morph into the all enslaving device called the mobile…The basic truth is markets (esp emerging markets) can shape applications..and guide technology into nooks and crannies not ordinarily imagined.

David Robins

One of the companies that will benefit from this trend is Alvarion which provides Wimax hardware for both the carriers and the end users.

Old English Teacher

Redline communications is the leading developer/researcher of wi fi technologies, with a integration/interoperability program and has been the first licensed by FCC for new standards. Check them out.

Chetan

Ground Reality is otally Different:

I was in the Con Call [in the last 2 weeks] with both Reliance and Airtel which control 45% of the Wireless market in India. Reliance tested the WiMax Waves in India and RCom group MD Mr. Seth said loud and clear that the company is expanding Reliance NetConnect+ [EVDO based wireless broadband]. Tata the flip-flop telecom company is following the footsteps of RCom and has launched Tata Photon+ [EVDO Wireless broadband]. I have not seen a single Advertisement of Reliance or Tata WiMax on TV while its popular to see their EVDO service ads.

Airtel declined to comment and is more likely waiting on 3G Auction Roadmap but has quietly reduced its Wired broadband plan rates.

Wimax 1.0 as I’d like to call was launched in India 2 years ago and has not gained any traction at least until the end of June-09 quarter. I really hope they tweak and do the necessary optimization such that the technology becomes acceptable.

Paul Kapustka

If you go out and take a look at a Clearwire tower site, the differences in gear between WiMAX and traditional cellular is simply amazing — the Clearwire gear fits in a refrigerator-size box, while the nearby cellular stuff (providers often share towers) usually needs a small building, 10×20′ or more, plus huge thick cables. WiMAX is now being done with fiber up to the antennas. You don’t have to be an engineer to see the savings.

And for the providers, a huge amount of savings on the CPE side comes from the elimination of truck rolls. Kelley Dunne at DigitalBridge will tell you the costs of the devices still need to drop, but with mobile WiMAX the self-configure savings vs. a cable or DSL home visit are big.

Laurent Perche

Paul,

There is actually not much difference between WiMAX and say 3G/HSPA when it comes to the cell site equipment. Everything is based on so called ‘distributed solutions’ using standard 19″ equipment and CPRI/Optical cable interface between digital processing and remote radio head.

sunil

Wish it was true, I’m in India and the way it works here, nothing has changed, it is still a very corrupt country, run by the mafia state.

The government will see whats in it for them first, then will look into whats good for the people and then charge over 2 Billion in license fees for Wimax which will have to be paid by the consumers.

There is an ongoing corruption charge on the bidding of 3G license to the carriers, some estimate the political mafia took as much as 1 billion dollars in kick backs for giving away licenses for 3G.

Not to mention 100’s of IDs a person or a company has to provide to get anything mobile nowadays, they have come up with draconian laws for using even wiifii, you will be in prison if a terrorist or a hacker or a third party uses your network, without your knowledge.

ohh, Did i mention that, the government is on the verge of passing laws, that would require an individual to fingerprint yes fingerprint when he uses internet in cybercafe’s.

Now its only giving your ID, present address and logging your IP number, which is scanned, documented and kept in police records all in the name of using the internet.

Indian government love to show our country and its usage of the internet as Taj Mahal, in reality it is another great firewall of Asia, much equal to China, they pass draconian laws all in the name of terror threat.

WiiMax is a dream away for ordinary folks, who would be able to use it without fearing that someone is watching over them.

AG

What the hell are you talking about? I have friends using the Tata WiMax network right now. Which little village of Bihar are you from?

Om Malik

Esme the way this is working is that most people are using it for Voice so makes it easier to justify some of the costs. I think the WiMAX CPE costs are coming down drastically as well. As the volumes go up, there is some hope for further price declines for the equipment.

Esme Vos

I still can’t figure out something that seems very obvious: how can the subscribers in developing countries afford the WiMAX CPE? Most PCs and smartphones, let alone phones, have WiMAX chips. So how are they connecting to the service? Dongles? WiMAX modems?

Steve Kuo

WiMAX CPE’s and Modems are actually pretty affordable compared to smartphones and GSM equipment. Avg CPE/USB modem costs around $50 WITHOUT subsidy. In Malaysia, there’s a national WiMAX network called P1 which is offering basic home connectivity for about US$20/month. Soon netbooks and nettops will flood the emerging markets and these things will be bundled with WiMAX service. Meaning, for about $20-$40/month and a 1-2 yr contract, a lower income family w/o a computer can get a machine and broadband.

Rob

Wake me up when there is a compelling offering in the market.

Is any carrier willing to fund a national deployment at this point? Answer: no.

tom

hope that the lower deployment costs can lead to lower ARPU and therefore lower subscription costs.

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