WiMAX industry refocuses on new markets and opportunities led by WiMAX Forum, Author: Mo Shakouri of Alvarion

Telecom industry has changed significantly over the last 10 year and WiMAX Forum has also adopted. Of course most of WiMAX success is happening outside NA.

Intel and Clearwire were the key marketing noise for WiMAX and they have their own challenges.

Also battle of WIMAX and LTE is 2+ year old and not relevant in the market today.  MOBILE Operators mainly are deploying 3G FDD with LTE being the future growth path (but FOG of LTE with 40+ flavors that will take many years to resolve!). LTE is going through the hype that WIMAX had 4 years ago.

WiMAX is being used for 4G mobile broadband in certain markets (Japan (I think UQ alone has 1M subscribers), Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia,…)  but main focus of WiMAX operators is broadband connectivity and verticals that is feeding most of growth. It is a market of $1.5-2B today and growing!  

WiMAX Forum participants are not dreaming anymore, just making business. I was in Africa a few weeks ago and 150+ people attended wimax operator summit  and Alvarion alone has 70 operator deployment of WiMAX in that region. Therefore, WiMAX is a key solution for emerging market but the biggest challenge for our industry is financial mess that is limiting the deployments. 

A few key facts:
1.  WiMAX industry grow 15-20%  this year to about 18M+ subscribers
2.   WiMAX Forum is a 200+ member organization
3.   WiMAX Development focus:

  • IEEE 802.16e-2205 std  enhancements (increase capacity)
  • IEEE 802.16M (AKA WiMAX 2.0) certification (release 2)
  • Smart Grid, Airport workgroups and task force on Verticals such as smart cities,…
  • 500+ WiMAX operator (regional operator initiatives)  Most do not have LTE ecosystem spectrum!
  • Focus on TDD spectrum (2.3/2.5G, 3.5G , 5.xG)

4. Vertical work groups and activities

  • Smart Grid
  • Airports
  • Smart Cities and verticals

Mo Shakouri, PhD
Corp VP Alvarion
Board member, Chairman WiMAX Forum
[email protected]

*Note: “Deployments” in this case refers to WiMAX networks that are either in service or planned/in deployment (i.e. base stations are being deployed, but there are few/no subscribers yet).

Total Deployments Track
ed    584
Total Countries** with WiMAX Deploymen
ts    150
**Note: “Countries” in this case is representative of distinct telecommunications markets, and therefore this number may equal more than the total number of sovereign nations recognized by the UN. For example, Hong Kong and China have different regulatory structures, and are therefore treated as different market


Region    Deployments   Countries
Africa    121    44
CALA    118    32
Asia-Pacific    99    24
Eastern Europe    83    21
Western Europe    77    18
North America (USA/Canada)    56    2
Middle East    30    9


2.3 GHz Deployments***    48
2.5 GHz Deployments***    113
3.3 GHz Deployments***    10
3.5 GHz Deployments***    309
5+ GHz Deployments***    21
***Note: In above table total deployment by Frequency may not add up to total deployments tracked. The missing deployments’ statuses are unknown, and will be confirmed and updat

For more information please visit www.wimaxmaps.org

In February, 2011, WiMAX Forum announced that as of the end of 2010, WiMAX service providers cover more than 823 Million people. This estimate surpasses last year’s forecast of 800M people, and signifies that WiMAX is still on target to reach the forecast that by 2011 there will be over 1 Billion people across the world within WiMAX coverage. This POPs update is a yearly project, and will be updated again at the beginning of 2012. Below is a regional breakout of the estimate:

Region    POPs Covered
Africa    87,347,832
Asia-Pacific    322,666,970
CALA    117,846,830
Eastern Europe    102,503,669
Middle East    33,509,544
North America    127,000,000
Western Europe    32,526,407
TOTAL    823,401,252
*These numbers represent an estimate conducted by WiMAX Forum via primary and secondary research of operator POPs coverage on an operator-by-operator basis. Where the operator could not or would not respond to direct inquiry, estimates were made based on public operator statements, number of base stations, government-mandated buildout requirements, and other available information. Proprietary networks (pre-WiMAX/non-WiMAX) were not included, and geographic overlap of operator coverage areas was taken into account.

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