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Pioneer Vendors Still Dominate WiMAX Market

According to In-Stat, while better known equipment vendors like Samsung, Nokia Siemens, and Motorola received extensive press coverage in 2006 due to their high-profile service provider wins, it was still the original market entrants -- Alavarion, Aperto, Redline, and Airspan -- that held the dominant market positions.

The high-tech market research firm does expect that will change as Sprint starts its network deployment. The company has not selected any of those early market pioneers as an infrastructure partner.

I believe that Sprint may end up regretting that decision, but only time will tell. Conventional wisdom says that, in an emerging technology product category, the larger vendors are often the safe bet. However, traditional telecom equipment vendors tend to design overly-complex "carrier grade" products to justify their intentionally high price. In contrast, nimble WiMAX service providers will likely need to be frugal, and contain their infrastructure costs.

"While the early pioneers of WiMAX should lose their market share dominance over the next couple of years, they should continue to grow their revenues, benefiting from the overall growth of the market. These vendors continue to win larger contracts with higher profile service providers," says Daryl Schoolar, In-Stat analyst.

In-Stat's market research found the following:

- At the end of 2006, there were 213.3 thousand WiMAX subscribers, worldwide.

- Almost all of those subscribers were found in Eastern Europe, North Africa or Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific Region.

- Due to delays in 802.16e certification, In-Stat now believes the life cycle for 802.16d equipment will be longer than originally forecast.

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