WiMax to Dominate BWA

WiMax is poised to dominate the $3.7B market for broadband wireless access, according to a report from BWCS and Senza-Fili Consulting

April 21, 2004

2 Min Read

LEDBURY, U.K. -- The US market for broadband wireless access services based on technologies such as WiMAX will be worth US$3.7 billion by 2009. A new study from BWCS and Senza-Fili Consulting estimates that fixed wireless services will account for 3.6% of all broadband connections in the US by the same date. And according to the author of WiFi, WiMAX and 802.20: The Disruptive Potential of Wireless Broadband WiMAX looks set to dominate the BWA market.

Report author Monica Paolini said: "Over the past weeks we have seen a growing number of vendors throwing their weight behind WiMAX as the standard for broadband wireless access. Perhaps most significant was Navini's decision to join the WiMAX Forum after being a long-time supporter of the rival 802.20 standard."

Largely thanks to strong backing from Intel, WiMAX has rapidly emerged as the front-runner from the raft of new generation BWA technologies.

Although handful of pre-WiMAX proprietary technologies are already being commercially deployed by service providers in the US, Asia-Pacific and Europe, the BWCS/Senza-Fili study concludes that only a standards-based approach will bring BWA to the masses.

Paolini argues: "Until now BWA has failed to achieve widespread adoption due to a lack of standardisation. As we have seen with WiFi, standards help to drive down hardware costs and promote interoperability among manufacturers. This in turn enables operators to deliver attractive, user-friendly services."

Cost and usability will be a critical factors in the highly competitive US market if emerging BWA services are to provide a realistic alternative to low-cost, self-installed fixed broadband (DSL and cable) services. Established BWA services based on LMDS, MMDS and satellite have so far failed to do this. According to market data from the Federal Communications Commission between 2000 and mid-2003 BWA's share of the business market declined from 0.99% to 0.32%.

Despite the growing support for WiMAX, WiFi, WiMAX and 802.20: The Disruptive Potential of Wireless Broadband concludes that mass adoption of broadband wireless access won't gain momentum until 2007. The next few years will largely see small-scale trials and proof-of-concept technology pilots. Of most importance for the future potential of WiMAX will be hardware trials involving integrated wireless modems and PC cards.

Paolini said: "The downside to a standards-based approach is that the process of definition, ratification and product certification is time-consuming. In the meantime service providers must either wait or go with proprietary solutions. That said we would expect to see the first WiMAX-certified products ship by early 2005."

BWCS

Senza Fili Consulting LLC

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