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WiMAX in India and Other Developing Areas

India remains the biggest single hope for revenue and global influence for WiMAX, according to the latest market study by Infonetics Research.

Their assessment focuses on targeted regions and countries around the world that have strong potential for fixed and mobile WiMAX markets, either because they have huge populations, or the broadband demands of the population are not being met by existing technologies.

After India, Infonetics expects Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Brazil to lead in WiMAX uptake, with the number of WiMAX subscribers in each of these developing regions roughly doubling to tripling each year through at least 2011.

Sales of fixed and mobile WiMAX network equipment, such as ASN gateways, base stations, CPE, and NICs are likewise forecast to skyrocket in these regions.

WiMAX has gained such momentum across so many regions that it is no longer sensible to suggest that WiMAX growth will be flattened by the emergence of LTE in the next few years. In populous countries with poor national telecom infrastructure, such as India, Brazil, and Africa, there is a lack of broadband services, and even of basic voice services, which is a significant driver for WiMAX adoption.

In many developing countries, with India being the prime example, WiMAX is showing promising signs of becoming the primary broadband infrastructure and a prominent 3G mobile technology.

"India is absolutely critical to the fortunes of WiMAX, and the level of uptake there will help decide how prominent a position 802.16e takes in the overall wireless landscape in the next decade," said Richard Webb, directing analyst at Infonetics.

Highlights from the Infonetics report include:

- The number of mobile WiMAX subscribers in Brazil is forecast by Infonetics to skyrocket from fewer than a thousand in 2007 to 3.6 million in 2011, a compound annual growth rate of 940 percent.

- The dearth of serviceable fixed-line networks in much of Central and Eastern Europe qualifies it as a ripe market for WiMAX: already fixed WiMAX is accelerating rapidly in Russia, where broadband demand far outstrips the availability of DSL.

- Japan will be a pioneer of convergence between mobile WiMAX and LTE technologies and is likely to have dual mobile WiMAX-LTE services by 2011.

- Due to the high penetration of fixed-line broadband and mobile, Western Europe will only offer a niche market for WiMAX, as a technology for SME markets and for public service applications (e.g., public safety, intelligent transportation, digital divide).

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