The value of the WiMax equipment market nearly quadrupled between 2005 and 2006, with worldwide revenue jumping 286% to $549.2m (£289m), according to analyst Infonetics Research.
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WiMax posted a strong fourth quarter as well, with fixed WiMax topping $180.7m (up 39% from the previous quarter), and the nascent mobile WiMax market hitting $45.8m, bringing total WiMax sales to $226.5m for the fourth quarter of 2006.
"Last year was a landmark year for the WiMax industry, with service provider trials moving to service launch phase in many areas, fixed WiMax deployments accelerating rapidly in developing countries, and mobile WiMax products coming to market for the first time,” said Infonetics analyst Richard Webb.
“The mobile WiMax market in particular is showing signs of a healthy future, with the infrastructure, components and handset ecosystem now coming together, boosted by the significant roll-out announcement by Sprint-Nextel in the US last year,” he added.
With new suppliers like Cisco entering the market, the small but rapidly growing outdoor wireless mesh access node segment also had a good year, posting 257% growth in 2006 to reach $392.1m.
Applications are broadening beyond cities, pushing demand for wireless access nodes. High double-and triple-digit unit shipment growth rates are expected through to 2010, according to Infonetics.
Infonetics said the worldwide WiMax equipment market was forecast to increase more than 10-fold between 2006 and 2010, when it would reach $5.6bn (£2.94bn).
Mobile WiMax would grow to $3.7bn in 2010, the analyst said.
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WiMax clears a path to mainstream