The report draws entirely on operators’ spending plans rather than vendor estimates. Rethink has enjoyed confidential access to the spending plans of over 200 service providers from all round the world, including how much money they have committed to future WiMAX spending, and how much they have spent so far in building out standard and pre-certified WiMAX networks. The next few years will show a remarkable pattern, with European spending skyrocketing and taking up 56% of 2006 WiMAX spending, only to be caught up by aggressive Chinese and other Asia Pacific network build.
US spending will be relevant, but by no means dominant. Though mobile operators still see WiMAX as being in the enemy camp, by 2009 mobile operators round the world will be the second largest spenders on WiMAX equipment, making up 17% of the total WiMAX equipment spend. The report shows that the market for WiMAX equipment will be larger than many have previously suggested and informs 802. 16 vendors in which territories they should be making their biggest efforts.
Spending will explode on the back of rising demand for broadband to be ubiquitous and either personal or portable, and though 802.16e will be the key platform, this will span both fixed and mobile applications. (Rethink Research associates, 2006) Europe dominates the 3. 5GHz picture in 2006 with over two-thirds of the world’s Licenses and in EMEA this band will remain the key one for WiMAX for the rest of the decade. While Eastern Europe will see high growth because of its high economic growth and wide underserved regions, the biggest deals will be in the west, especially as converged and mobile operators start to implement WiMAX as part of their combined platforms.
Africa and the Middle East will increase its spending on WiMAX, mainly in 3. 5GHz, more than tenfold in the period, driven by new spectrum allocations and rising demand and economic growth. In Asia-Pacific, the Korean Wi-Bro roll-outs will of course kick start the market, but by 2009 the greatest growth will come from China, Japan and the Indian subcontinent. By 2009, $2. 28bn will be spent in Asia on WiMAX, almost one-third of the total, and almost trebling the value of the market from 2006.
This will mainly be in 2. 3/2.5GHz. (Meroeko ; Fellah, 2006) The North American market is the most uncertain, because some key operators still have to decide whether or not to support WiMAX – notably Sprint – and spectrum rules are more flexible, but funds are flowing towards some major start-ups such as Clear wire and M2Z, and this region will top the $1bn mark in 2009. Latin America and the Caribbean, which has a strong tradition of BWA, will see some deployments by large operators such as Telefonica and Brazil will overtake Mexico as the biggest market.
However, despite tenfold growth rates, it will remain less than 10% of the total, with build-out being more gradual and sporadic than in many other areas. Rethink Research’s base of service providers ranges from tier one and two telcos/cellcos to start-ups, traditional broadband wireless operators and larger WISPs in license exempt spectrum, as well as some municipalities/public bodies. All of them fit the following Criteria: They have • built systems based on pre-certified equipment, either as a new activity or alongside existing proprietary or Wi-Fi networks
?ommitted to a migration of proprietary BWA or Wi-Fi networks to WiMAX within 24 months, with trials or detailed roadmaps (Smith, 2006) • created a detailed plan for a new network based on fixed or mobile WiMAX, with trials already ongoing or planned in the six month timeframe Over 100 of these are Rethink research partners, which means they commit to sharing their business plans, budgets and experiences in a high level of detail on a quarterly basis (with confidentiality). Other members agree to take part in regular surveys at a higher level, by email or telephone. (Rethink Research Associates 2006)