The introduction of WiMAX wide area wireless networking will offer multiple benefits for businesses and consumers, including lower broadband costs and improved service choice, research published today predicts.
However, the Northern Sky Research (NSR) market survey: WiMAX- Sorting Through the Hype: A Realistic Assessment of WiMAX Growth Potential (2005-2010), also warns that the hype surrounding WiMAX is generating confusion regarding the technology's actual market positioning.
NSR notes that, while WiMAX 802.16 has "enormous potential" to offer a global standardised broadband wireless platform, the market will face several hurdles in the near term. These include a solid migration path to the forthcoming 802.16e standard, spectrum allocation, requirements for indoor antennas and initial high costs.
According to the analyst firm, these and many more problems must be overcome in order for growth projections to be met. NSR concludes that early struggles in the space are, however, likely to subside over time and WiMAX will post significant gains over the next three-to-five years.
NSR expects the market for 802.16d WiMAX to be located primarily in developing regions and niche applications in developed markets. NSR projects the 802.16d market to reach 4.4 million subscription by 2010, but the market is expected to level off with the introduction of 802.16e.
With a probable launch date in 2007, the 802.16e standard is likely to post aggressive gains and reach approximately eight million subscriptions by 2010. Most of this base is expected in developed regions, as users utilise mobile 802.16e WiMAX in laptops, PDAs and eventually mobile phones.
Christopher Baugh, president of NSR and author of the report, said: "NSR believes in the viability of the emerging 801.16 WiMAX standard, because the likely performance characteristics of WiMAX make the standard quite promising for many new deployment models. But a number of hurdles must be cleared before WiMAX can experience widespread growth.
"Hype surrounding the eventual launch of WiMAX solutions is one of the most significant barriers to overcome, as incumbents and service providers will soon find out that actual WiMAX performance may not meet early vendor claims," he added.
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