The top 22 operators worldwide will contribute nearly 2.5 million subscribers by the end of 2009 – up from 1.24 million today – and close to 4 million by the end of 2010 according to the latest research report from Maravedis entitled “The Top 22: Operators Who Will Make or Break WiMAX.”

Operators selected for the report enjoy two key conditions: they have deep enough pockets to deploy major networks and have access to sufficient spectrum to be profitable in the long term. In fact 46 percent of operators interviewed have 50 MHz or more of spectrum, while 45 percent have more than US$100 million in cash.

“A major focus of this report is to provide insights of the plans and experiences of the top 22 operators,” said Adlane Fellah, CEO of Maravedis Inc.

“Interestingly, 42 percent of these operators are considering or planning to deploy LTE,” said Cintia Garza, Senior Analyst and co-author of the report. Networks have been dominated so far by standalone CPEs as well PC peripherals such as USB dongles and PC cards. Embedded multimode devices are only emerging in the last few months.

Although the top 22 WiMAX operators enjoy the support of strong investor groups and deep pockets to offset limited credit facilities, they are still impacted by the financial crisis. Furthermore, some operators are feeling pressure from not having the right spectrum or sufficient spectrum to achieve their deployment plans.

Select Key Findings

• 75% of operators have more than 10 million POP covered Operators are generating an average ARPU of US$35 for residential services and US$93 for business services
• 33% of operators use only microwave radios for their backhaul 52% plan to deploy femtocells in the next 24 months