July 30, 2008
An estimated 2.1 billion wireless broadband customers are forecast to generate $784bn in service revenue by 2015, according to figures released this week.
But industry analyst Analysys Mason warns that cellular technologies are set to dominate the wireless broadband services market, with twenty times as many users as WiMAX by the end of 2015.
Analysys notes that HSPA will support 88 per cent of all wireless broadband consumers at the end of 2008, and its importance will continue. “Despite the increasing availability of LTE and WiMAX, HSPA and HSPA+ will still support 54 per cent of wireless broadband users by the end of 2015,” said Analysys analyst Mark Heath.
Because WCDMA to HSPA to HSPA+ is the natural evolution path for GSM operators, Analysys anticipates the number of HSPA and HSPA+ customers worldwide will increase from 61 million at the end of 2008 to 1.1 billion at the end of 2015.
Adoption of next generation technology LTE is expected to take off relatively slowly, but its customer base will reach 440 million by 2015, with associated revenue of $194bn. Conversely, the analyst expects WiMAX will be squeezed from developed markets by fixed and cellular broadband services and by 2015 will serve just 98 million customers worldwide, of which 92 per cent will be in developing regions.
“WiMAX will fail to achieve a significant share of the rapidly developing wireless broadband market, contributing only 2 per cent of global revenue. By 2015, there will be twenty times as many customers for cellular broadband services as for WiMAX,” said analyst Alastair Brydon. “The vast majority of MNOs will not break ranks to WiMAX, but will upgrade to LTE, resulting in over four times more LTE users by the end of 2015.”
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