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WiMAX Trend Drives Semiconductor Demand

Fixed WiMAX IC vendors have recently re-directed their energies towards Mobile WiMAX, particularly in the second half of 2006 and into 2007, according to a new market study from In-Stat.

This represents a dramatic change, as the overwhelming majority of 2005 and 2006 WiMAX chipsets were Fixed WiMAX (802.16d) compliant, with a very small percentage in 2006 representing chipsets used in early WiBro (mobile WiMAX-based) devices.

"Fujitsu, Intel, Sequans and Wavesat were the Fixed WiMAX baseband market leaders in 2005 and 2006 -- all have since shifted their focus to Mobile WiMAX," says Gemma Tedesco, In-Stat analyst. "In addition, Fixed WiMAX radio providers Sierra Monolithics and Analog Devices have
announced Mobile WiMAX solutions."

In-Stat's market research found the following:

- The global WiMAX chipset market will reach approximately 21 million units in 2011, growing from 300,000 chipset units in 2006.

- Intel, the marketing heart and soul of WiMAX technology, has been working for years to build up the WiMAX vendor ecosystem. Consequently, Sprint's announcement that it would build out a Mobile WiMAX network was a huge boost for the WiMAX movement overall, and has in turn put much pressure on Mobile WiMAX solution vendors.

- Mobile WiMAX faces competition from many mobile broadband technology alternatives, such as EV-DO, HSPA, UMB, LTE, and even from Wi-Fi, particularly the IEEE 802.11n standard.

- Baseband vendors Beceem and Runcom are leaders in Mobile WiMAX, and are powering some of the early WiBro devices. Other baseband vendors with sights set specifically on Mobile WiMAX include Altair Semiconductor, Amicus, ApaceWave and Redpine Signals.

- RF IC providers who have jumped straight into the Mobile WiMAX market include NXP Semiconductors, GCT Semiconductor and AsicAhead.

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