WiMAX might have had a head start when it comes to the next generation wireless broadband sweepstakes, but the technology is beginning to feel the heat from its rival, Long Term Evolution, aka LTE. New data from research firm Telegeography shows that by 2015, LTE will have seven times as many users as WiMAX.
That trend has many early WiMAX backers worried, and even Clearwire (s CLWR) isn’t immune to the idea of experimenting with a new flavor of LTE. Telegeography says that by the end of 2010, there will 11 million WiMAX subscribers around the world but the going is to get a lot tougher for WiMAX. In the next two years, LTE networks will be launched by carriers in 55 countries, and that should jumpstart the growth for LTE-related services. In comparison, WiMAX is going to be relegated to fixed and nomadic applications, instead of being a mainstream mobile offering, Telegeography argues.
LTE, which launched in late 2009, will take about six years to garner an estimated three percent of the total wireless market, Telegeography posits. A lot has to do with the availability of phones that support LTE and other devices that can leverage the wireless broadband technology.
While TeleGeography predicts that WiMAX subscriber growth will continue apace, by the end of 2015 LTE subscribers will outnumber WiMAX subscribers by a factor of more than seven to one. “If you forget all the past hype about WiMAX and focus just on the next five years, it actually has a bright future” said TeleGeography’s Pete Bell. ‘You can expect to see WiMAX achieving average annual growth in excess of 30 percent over that period. Within the next 24 months LTE networks will have been launched by major cellular service providers in some 55 countries, with most other countries following suit over the subsequent three years, he added.
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