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Assessment of Mobile Broadband Equipment

Shipments of mobile broadband equipment built for data services grew 117 percent year over year, according to year-end numbers from Sky Light Research.

Included in the mobile broadband category are companies who make proprietary data-based mobile broadband equipment like pre-802.16e, UMTS TD-CDMA, 802.20/FLASH OFDM, and OFDMA.

Sky Light counts equipment built to the 802.16e (WiMAX-2005) specification as proprietary equipment until the commencement of mobile WiMAX certification, after which SLR will track mobile WiMAX as a separate category.

Radios built to the 802.16e specification drove mobile broadband growth in 2006, despite the fact that only a handful of companies have announced general market availability and that 802.16e certification is still several months away.

"The twofold uptake in mobile equipment last year validates carrier interest in deploying mobile solutions today; as standards-based products become commercial over the next 12 months, deployments will continue to increase at a rapid pace," said Emmy Johnson, Principal Analyst and Founder of Sky Light Research.

While the market is transitioning to mobile WiMAX services, certified WiMAX-2004 equipment continues to deploy. At year end 2006, 802.16d-2004 certified equipment shipments generated approximately $162 million with Alvarion and Airspan leading the market.

The total market for wireless broadband, including traditional multiservice and proprietary equipment, also made significant strides with end-user subscriber devices cracking the one million unit mark for the first time in a 12 month period.

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