2010 is being tipped as they year that WiMax finally reaches its potential.
According to the WiMAX Equipment, Devices and Subscribers forecast report by Infonetics Research, the number of global WiMax subscribers is expected to grow from the current 4-million to 130-million by 2013. Just about every developing country currently has a WiMax network and this demand for wireless Internet access is expected to exponentially increase in the future.
Daniel Levy, GM Africa and Middle East at Alvarion, says that there are already moer than 475 WiMax networks deployed to date in 140 countries worldwide and although exact numbers are debatable, there is no doubt that substantial growth and network expansion is taking off at a very fast pace.
“In addition to an increase in the number of networks traced by WiMAX, many of the already established WiMax networks in Africa continue to rapidly expand,” he says.
WiMax deployment and expansion will not ignore Africa, he adds.
“WiMax’s increasing popularity globally is matched by major momentum taking off in developing countries who are currently struggling to gain wireless Internet capabilities. Though poor infrastructure, insufficient resources, lack of knowledge and financial instability are major problems facing, developing countries, WiMax has proven to be the best means of providing wireless Internet at broadband speeds – and looking ahead at the ways in which WiMax will benefit additional countries in the future is a hopeful and exciting prospect.”
With a maturing vendor ecosystem and networks beginning to ramp, we should expect to see a variety of WiMAX enabled devices in 2010, says Levy. With the increase of WiMax subscribers and larger buildouts by operators, we should also begin to see further declines in WiMax CPE prices.
On the infrastructure side, another area of expected change is the increased use of beam forming technology complimenting MIMO in WiMax base stations to reduce total network cost and increase performance. Until recently, the traditional thinking was that WiMax base stations using beam forming was too expensive. While it is true that beamforming base stations adds more to the cost of equipment, beamforming can also significantly increase the throughput under certain conditions.
“2010 should put WiMax firmly on the Broadband map,” says Levy. “At a time when the world is looking forward warily, we’re anticipating a good year.”