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WiMAX is Moving from Trials to Launch Phase

The burgeoning WiMAX equipment market nearly quadrupled between 2005 and 2006, with worldwide revenue jumping 286 percent to $549.2 million, according to Infonetics Research.

WiMAX posted a strong fourth quarter as well, with fixed WiMAX topping $180.7 million (up 39 percent from 3Q06) and the nascent mobile WiMAX market reaching $45.8 million, bringing total WiMAX up to $226.5 million in 4Q06.

"2006 was a landmark year for the WiMAX industry, with service provider trials moving to service launch phase in many areas, fixed WiMAX deployments accelerating rapidly in developing countries, and mobile WiMAX products coming to market for the first time. The mobile WiMAX market in particular is showing signs of a healthy future, with the infrastructure, components, and handset ecosystem now coming together-boosted by the significant announcement of Sprint-Nextel in 2006," said Richard Webb, analyst at Infonetics Research.

With new vendors like Cisco entering the market, the small but rapidly growing outdoor wireless mesh access node segment also had a good year, posting 257 percent growth in 2006 to reach $392.1 million. Applications are broadening beyond municipalities, pushing demand for wireless access nodes: high double- and triple-digit unit shipment growth rates are expected through 2010.

Global market highlights include:

- The worldwide WiMAX equipment market is forecast to increase more than 10-fold between 2006 and 2010, when it will reach almost $5.6 billion.

- Mobile WiMAX is forecast to grow to $3.7 billion in 2010, a 5-year CAGR of 201 percent.

- In 4Q06, Alvarion leads in fixed WiMAX equipment revenue share, followed by Redline and Airspan.

- Tropos leads in outdoor mesh equipment revenue in 4Q06, followed by Strix and BelAir.

- In 2006, EMEA accounts for 34 percent of fixed WiMAX equipment revenue, Asia-Pacific for 33 percent, North America 18 percent, and CALA 15 percent; CALA's share grows to 21 percent in 2010.

- In 2006, 42 percent of mobile WiMAX equipment revenue came from Asia-Pacific, 33 percent from North America, 14 percent from EMEA, 11 percent from CALA.

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