Even though some analysts are predicting that the credit crunch will dampen the development of technology based on the WiMAX broadband standard, new research is suggesting that low cost mobile computing devices will drive service uptake.
A recent survey by Infonetics Research has found that sales of fixed and mobile WiMAX equipment and phones/Ultra Mobile PCs dropped 21% to $245 million in 3Q08 from 2Q08 and that sales are expected to continue to fall throughout 2009.
Yet when it comes to portable/mobile devices, argues technology research firm In-Stat, the bulk of early WiMAX device shipments will be in the form of external laptop clients and embedded mobile PCs.
In-Stat predicts that even though WiMAX device growth will be challenged by current 3G services, LTE, and the current economic climate, the annual WiMAX device shipments will break the 10 million mark in 2010.
It expects future WiMAX devices will contain multi-band radios and chipsets that support both LTE and WiMAX. Growth in both external clients and laptops will likely benefit from the lower cost of the technology compared to cellular and in some cases, lack of service contracts. In-Stat argues that these devices will attract both monthly subscribers and session-based users.
"WiMAX will grow by meeting pent-up demand and offering users a lower cost alternative to existing services," suggested Daryl Schoolar, In-Stat analyst. "There will be different classes of operator control over devices. Despite what some technology advocates have said, not all WiMAX devices will follow the Wi-Fi model of full consumer ownership and control."