The WiMAX Forum® revealed that WiMAX service providers now offer networks covering more than 620 million people (or POPS) in approximately 147 countries and are on pace to surpass the already forecasted 800 million POPs by end of 2010. In addition, the WiMAX Forum expects this number to surpass one billion by the end of 2011, which is approximately the time competitive 4G technologies are expected to begin early commercialization.
“WiMAX networks continue to expand at a very healthy pace despite challenges from the slowly recovering global economy,” said Ron Resnick, president and chairman of the WiMAX Forum. “These new deployment numbers and population statistics demonstrate that the WiMAX ecosystem has strong momentum for the start of the New Year and will continue to meet the global market demand for high-speed broadband access in developed and emerging regions.”
By region, WiMAX Forum research uncovered the following:
• Asia Pacific leads with more than 237 million POPS and 100 network deployments.
• Central/Latin America has reached 113 million POPs and 109 deployments.
• Africa/Middle East covers more than 108 million POPs with 142 deployments.
• Europe covers 115 million people with 153 deployments.
• North American coverage has increased to 47 million POPS with 51 deployments.
“Clearwire plans to continue rolling out our 4G network to additional markets in 2010 with the launch of service in several large metro areas, including New York, Houston and the San Francisco Bay area – ultimately reaching up to 120 million people by the end of 2010,” said Ali Tabassi, Senior Vice President of global ecosystem and standards for Clearwire Corp. and WiMAX Forum Board member. “The expansion of our footprint will help meet the pent up demand for true mobile broadband in the US and allow us to continue to serve as a global resource for best practices in 4G network development around the world.”
Adoption of WiMAX in Europe continues to grow thanks to an increase in spectrum allocations made in 2009. For example, Ireland is a perfect market for WiMAX due to its low broadband penetration rate. Imagine gained access to 3.4/3.6 MHz spectrum in Q3 2009 and quickly started building a national network in Ireland. The company launched commercial services last month and has already been successful with thousands migrating to WiMAX. In Q2 2010, it will expand its offerings to deliver nomadic WiMAX services via dual mode WiMAX/HSPA dongles and embedded laptops. Imagine expects to have 60 percent of the Irish population covered by the end of 2010 and its national deployment finished in 2012.
In February 2009, the WiMAX Forum originally projected that WiMAX technology would reach 800 million POPs by the end of 2010. The increases in coverage footprints by the end of 2009 are proof that this number continues to track to meet or exceed these previous estimates. This February 2009 projection does not account for potential growth WiMAX will experience once spectrum is auctioned in India and networks are deployed in the Philippines as well as Indonesia.
“WiMAX has huge potential in Indonesia, where only four percent of its 240 million population has access to fixed-line infrastructure and less two million have broadband access,” said Basharat Ashai, an Analyst with Maravedis “4GCounts Team”. “Recently, 73 telecom companies participated in an auction that yielded only eight winners and many of those operators plan to deploy in 1H 2010.”
A main driver of WiMAX growth in 2010 will be the increase in consumer products coming to market, including tri-band smart phones and feature phones capable of global roaming. More than 178 Mobile WiMAX Certified products achieved certification in 2009 and ten products were certified in January 2010. Currently, more than 25 WiMAX Forum member companies manufacture WiMAX base stations and 45 WiMAX Forum member companies are CPE and end user device suppliers. The WiMAX Forum estimates that by 2011 there will be more than 1,000 Mobile WiMAX Forum Certified™ products commercially available.