Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Service Providers Planning WiMax Mobility Services

Almost two-thirds of service providers surveyed are planning to use WiMAX for mobility-based services by 2012 and more than 90% expect to offer VoIP over WiMAX by then, according to new data released Thursday by Infonetics Research. The findings indicate WiMAX has "a rich service environment" in the near future, although there are also some key issues that need to be addressed, said Richard Webb, directing analyst for WiMAX, microwave, and mobile devices at Infonetics Research, in a statement.

In particular, one of the concerns is the limited range of WiMAX-enabled mobile devices, and the difficulty of building low-ARPU (average revenue per user) pricing models for developing countries, said Webb. "The WiMAX industry is up against the clock to address these challenges if it is to fulfill its undoubted potential as a long-term broadband technology," he said.

WiMAX vendor Clearwire, which has been the biggest champion of WiMAX as the next-generation wireless networking technology in the U.S., said Wednesday that it would test Long-Term Evolution technology alone and in "multiple coexistence scenarios" with WiMAX.

Other findings from the Infonetics WiMAX Services Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey are that service providers plan to diversify the services they offer over WiMAX by 2012, as fixed/nomadic basic broadband services currently dominate the WiMAX market. In most regions worldwide, there continues to be a demand for a broadband access "wireless DSL" solution, Infonetics said. In the U.S. and in other developed countries there are still geographic areas that are underserved, creating an ideal opportunity for WiMAX, the survey found.

By 2012, full mobility will likely be offered by some 64% of service provider respondents, compared with only 24% in the 2010 Infonetics survey, most likely through smartphones that combine data mobility and voice. USB dongles, though, will be the device of choice for nomadic/mobile services initially, the firm said.

Topping the list of respondents' commercial challenges is the availability of WiMAX-enabled mobile devices. Marketing and positioning WiMAX services is another top commercial challenge and others include building retail and distribution channels, providing enterprise customer-oriented service level agreements and defining a price model for a low-ARPU market, Infonetics said.

Purchase decision makers at 25 WiMAX-only operators, fixed-line incumbents, competitive fixed-line providers and mobile operators were surveyed, the firm said.