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How WiMAX Will Drive Wireless M2M Apps

A new market study predicts that the cellular machine-to-machine (M2M) market will be impacted by the growing momentum behind the deployment of WiMAX as a next-generation WWAN communications technology.

WiMAX is even more spectrally efficient and cost-effective to operate in mobile carrier networks when compared with W-CDMA and CDMA EV-DO, making WiMAX very suitable for low data rate, low ARPU M2M applications -- when and where WiMAX connectivity is available.

Sam Lucero, ABI Research senior analyst, says "Sprint and Clearwire are the two most significant service providers deploying WiMAX in the United States. Sprint, a CDMA-based operator, has selected WiMAX as its path to 4G service offerings."

Sprint will work with Clearwire -- a Craig McCaw startup that has received $600 million in venture backing from Intel and $300 million from Motorola -- to provide joint coverage to each other's respective customers on the nationwide WiMAX networks deployed by the two companies.

Sprint is rapidly deploying WiMAX infrastructure in North America, and believes WiMAX is well-suited to deliver cost-effective, wide area M2M services -- a viewpoint borne out by ABI Research analysis.

There is also growing interest in Europe in the deployment of WiMAX. Furthermore, there are indications suggesting an interest in employing WiMAX for M2M applications such as AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure).

Sprint and Clearwire are only two among a number of interested parties. Lucero adds, "Intel is a key member of a developing WiMAX ecosystem that includes network infrastructure equipment vendors, Motorola and Samsung, as well as CPE vendors such as ZyXEL and Accton. Intel expects nearly a few dozen operators to have deployed WiMAX by 2012."

According to ABI's assessment, municipal Wi-Fi can be deployed at a very low cost and is well-suited for select M2M applications, such as AMI, public safety telematics, and video surveillance.

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