LTE outshines WiMAX in revenue race

By : |May 31, 2009 0

HAMPSHIRE, INDIA: Long Term Evolution (LTE) is stealing the show from Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX). A Juniper Research study finds that by 2014, spending on the former 4G mobile-broadband technology is projected to be nearly five times that of its latter Intel-championed competitor.

According to the report, by 2014 ,revenues from LTE mobile broadband subscribers will be $70 billion, whereas, it will be only $15 billion from WiMAX.  The author of the report, Howard Wilcox, says: "It’s ‘Make or Break’ Time for the WiMAX sector."

North America, Far East & China and Western Europe together will account for 90 percent of LTE market, by 2014. Whereas, in contrast, the same will represent 70 percent of the WiMAX market.

On the whole, by 2014, WiMAX will be able to dish out $4bn from Africa and the Middle East, South America, the Indian Sub Continent and Eastern Europe, as "Mobile WiMAX has role to play in providing broadband in developing countries where there is no wired network."

WiMAX will provide an improved experience for broadband customers who are receiving low speed DSL or cable modem services, or at the limit of DSL coverage. Whereas, LTE will create a new connected era for devices such as portable games consoles and digital cameras, with vendors already eyeing the prospects. In this way, LTE will bridge the gap between the mobile and consumer electronics worlds.

Moreover, LTE will offer broadband speeds of up to 100mbit/s or more: this is at least five times faster than the best mobile broadband now and around 20 times faster than most people experience via fixed DSL

Challenges for WiMAX and LTE
The reason touted for WiMAX’s lower performance is that mobile WiMAX networks are being rolled out more slowly than expected, meaning that service revenues will grow more slowly than forecast a year ago.

WiMAX is faced by spectrum auction postponements in several countries, funding problems from the credit crunch, and slow network implementations, all combining to handicap network operators signing up subscribers.

These factors – some of which are outside the control of the WiMAX ecosystem – are holding back the market. Report author Howard Wilcox warned: "Whilst market leaders such as Clearwire are launching services and expanding internationally, there are also well-publicised challenges for WiMAX such as those highlighted by French regulator ARCEP.  We’re on the cusp of make or break time for WiMAX."

WiMAX ecosystem needs to deliver by translating trials into reliable, commercial services that attract customers.

The challenge for LTE mobile operators is how to make profits yet keep prices attractive enough for subscribers to sign up. It’s all about the business case.”

Although the recession could have short term impact, LTE’s longer term prospects should not be adversely affected, mobile commerce and payments, the mobile web and the need to return to economic growth will all drive mobile broadband.

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