Part 3, WiMax Market Update from the Field
March 06, 2006
Part 3, update by Alan J. Weissberger.
Heavy Reading’s WiMax findings:
Telecom network operators are convinced that WiMax will have a positive impact on their ability to deliver new services, and most expect to see deployment of WiMax in commercial networks by the end of 2007, according to results of a worldwide survey of service provider professionals conducted by Heavy Reading, Light Reading Inc.'s market research division.
Worldwide sales of WiMax products have been minuscule so far, but the true test of its potential is about to commence, now that the first standards-compliant products are hitting the market for deployment in real commercial networks. Certification by the WiMax Forum that products conform to various iterations of the IEEE 802.16 standard that defines WiMax began in January 2006 and is expected to trigger wide-scale deployment of WiMax equipment by telecom service providers. WiMax may actually eclipse some of the industry’s earlier "saviour" technologies, primarily because it is viewed as a linchpin for the future convergence of wireless and wire-line networks, in addition to promising advancement for broadband wireless services and applications.
Key findings of Service Provider WiMax Deployment Plans include the following:
Service provider respondents overwhelmingly view WiMax as a technology that will have at least some impact on the future of telecom networks, and a solid majority expects it to have a major impact. Less than 2 percent of the 262 respondents categorized WiMax as offering "more hype than hope," while nearly 60 percent said WiMax would have a major long-term impact on telecom networks and services. These results clearly indicate that WiMax developers have succeeded in making a strong case for their technology, and that service providers are expecting WiMax to have a place in future network designs.
Positive attitudes toward WiMax and its role in telecom networks cut across all service provider types. For every type of service provider included in the survey, more than 50 percent of respondents said WiMax would have a major long-term effect on networks and services. The respondents most bullish about WiMax's prospects include those from long-distance operators (69.1 percent of whom said WiMax would have a major long-term impact), Bell companies (68.8 percent), and operators of conventional wireless networks (68.4 percent).
The evaluation process for WiMax is already well underway, and the next 12 to 18 months will be critical in determining how many carriers make investments in WiMax and how extensive those investments will be. A majority of respondents say their company is now evaluating WiMax technology, and almost all of the rest say their company is likely to take a close look at WiMax once the technology matures – which most expect to occur in the next 12 to 18 months.
The vast majority of respondents expect to see commercial WiMax service launched within the next two years. Nearly 40 percent of respondents expect commercial WiMax service to be available this year, and more than 80 percent anticipate it by the end of 2007.
Daily news and reports about advancements in WiMax and the emergence of the 802.16 wireless standard.
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