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APAC Region Continues to Lead in WiMAX

WiMAX technology is entering a rapid growth phase, as service providers are now able to buy WiMAX Forum-certified equipment to build their networks, reports In-Stat.

Worldwide subscribers are estimated to reach 222,000 in 2006 and are forecast to grow to 19.7 million by the end of 2010. Most of those subscribers are in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. Almost all subscribers are using a fixed service today, with the exception of those in South Korea.

"While WiMAX faces many challenges, the biggest challenge still comes from competing technologies and services," says Daryl Schoolar, In-Stat analyst. "WiMAX will have difficulty competing in areas that already have established broadband services. WiMAX will need to provide a demonstratively superior service to win customers from the incumbent provider. Much of WiMAX's early success will come from under-developed regions of the globe."

However, in the U.S. market, competition can quickly be escalated by a WiMAX launch, because the technology will be deployed to 'complement' incumbent broadband services. Sprint Nextel has made a significant commitment to a major WiMAX network deployment. The implications: their WiMAX network will likely be used by their cable TV MSO partners to further differentiate their service offerings from the incumbent telcos.

In-Stat's study found the following:

- With Sprint being the exception, In-Stat does not believe most 3G carriers will deploy WiMAX in the near term.

- Alvarion had the largest share of WiMAX equipment revenue during the first half of 2006.

- In-Stat expects sales in 802.16e equipment to quickly overtake those in 802.16d.

- Regulatory uncertainty and spectrum availability continue to hamper the growth of WiMAX.

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