More than 31 million people in Asia will be using WiMax broadband wireless internet links within five years, according to new forecasts from the region.
A report from the Singapore office of research firm In-Stat said that strong growth is expected, despite the fact that fewer than 300,000 were using WiMax at the end of last year.
WiMax is an attractive option for countries which want to roll out broadband as fast as possible.
"In emerging countries where current household broadband penetration rates are extremely low, governments have quickly built a pro-WiMax regulatory framework," said In-Stat analyst Victor Liu.
WiMax operators will be collecting revenues of $8bn per year from 31.4 million subscribers in the Asia-Pacific region by 2012, In-Stat predicts.
Spending on infrastructure by carriers will surge from less than $400m last year to $2.9bn in five years.
"One temporary setback was WiMax subscriber growth developing more slowly than expected in South Korea due to limited network coverage and lack of user devices," Liu added.
The company will make more access devices available by this summer, such as WiMax-equipped mobile phones.
Fewer than 1,000 people have signed up for WiMax services from KT Corp and a rival operator, according to local press reports published earlier this year.
A third Korean operator with a WiMax licence has not yet rolled out a service, and may have dropped out of the market altogether.
In-Stat's forecasting data covers 16 economies in the Asia-Pacific region, including those of Australia, China, India, Indonesia and Japan.
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