Russia is the ‘perfect storm’ for WiMAX: challenging geography, dispersed population, pent up demand for broadband and voice services, and a population able to pay for services, says a report from Infonetics Research. At the moment, there are more than 10 WiMAX networks in operation or deployment in Russia.
India is however, the largest single-country WiMAX opportunity in the world, with most of the major operators actively pursuing WiMAX (BSNL, Tata, Bharti Airtel, etc); deployments are well-underway with acceleration in adoption experienced in many telecoms circles. In India, Telsima – now Harris-Stratex – led the WiMAX equipment market in 2008, followed by Alcatel-Lucent and WiMAX specialist Aperto.
The report also noted that Brazil is potentially one of the world’s most dynamic WiMAX markets, with a very mobile-oriented populace; WiMAX has an opportunity to become the primary broadband network in Brazil, where the number of WiMAX subscribers is forecast to skyrocket from 184,000 in 2008 to almost 8 million in 2013.
There are over 80 networks now active in over 35 African countries, with demand for broadband and voice services driving deployment, despite challenges in terms of funding and low-ARPU business models.
The Middle East region has strong potential for WiMAX due to its relatively stable and affluent economies and often inferior telecommunications infrastructure.
Though the current market is very modest, if China’s 3G technology TD-SCDMA fails to ignite the market, a softening of the regulatory attitude to WiMAX could follow, leading to much more extensive WiMAX market growth. In Japan, mobile WiMAX adoption is growing, with a battle brewing between operator UQ’s mobile WiMAX network (in partnership with KDDi) and NTT DoCoMo’s LTE rollout.
Mobile WiMAX adoption is also increasing in South Korea, although a new focus on LTE rollouts may lead to convergence between WiMAX and LTE using dual mode devices.