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Wednesday, 22 November 2006 06:35

More bad news for WiMAX hopefuls

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Following a gloomy assessment of the business case for WiMAX from Analysys, Strategy Analytics is tipping enhancements to existing technologies such as HSPA and EV-DO Revision A+ to comprise the bulk of the market for mobile broadband and generate the bulk of revenue in the next decade.

Strategy Analytics forecasts, in a new report "Beyond 3G: Looking for True Mobile Broadband," that new alternative technologies will contribute just six percent of an estimated 500 million mobile broadband users globally by 2010.

"Mobile WiMAX and UMTS TDD will stand out among the alternatives to traditional voice/data cellular networks, though in the medium these will both be eclipsed by the volume advantages of HSPA and EV-DO," Strategy Analytics says.

"We're not likely to see technologies like mobile WiMAX or indeed, anything else, really take off until the next decade," said Sara Harris, senior industry analyst at Strategy Analytics and author of the report. "However, HSPA and EV-DO will be more than acceptable for most users, giving them the speed and flexibility they want to use their fixed internet applications on the move."

In a new report, "The Business Case for WiMAX", published earlier this month, UK based market researcher, Analysys, claimed  that a WiMAX operator in head-to-head competition with fixed broadband services in a developed market would require a spectacular performance to overcome the growing capabilities and services on offer, such as IPTV.

Analysys was only marginally more optimistic for an operator in developed rural markets, "In principle, there is an opportunity to make a healthy profit from WiMAX in rural areas of developed markets, unserved by DSL or cable services. However, with fixed operators rapidly extending the reach of DSL, these opportunities are likely to be few in number and limited in size."

Analysys says it has reached these conclusions by modelling WiMAX business cases with "more realistic assumptions" which "show that there may be very few situations in which WiMAX has a secure long-term business case."

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