The growth prospects for Wimax in the Asia-Pacific region will remain hobbled unless China warms to the 4G standard, according to Frost & Sullivan (F&S).
“The fact that China has not supported Wimax, preferring instead to back the homegrown TD-SCDMA 3G standard, is particularly unnerving for the technology's prospects in the region,” F&S analyst Shaker Amin said.
He predicts the Wimax subscriber base in the region will reach 24 million by the end of 2014, with revenue of nearly $6.4 billion.
These estimates could double if China backs the standard – which is unlikely, given that it has consistently opposed Wimax in international standards bodies.
Among non-Chinese markets, the wireless broadband technology face stiff challenges.
“Some large Asian markets have made very little progress in licensing Wimax, while other markets such as Australia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore have seen considerable growth in wireless broadband subscribers using HSPA data cards and dongles,” Amin said.
It's now or never for Wimax providers, Amin said. “With HSPA gaining momentum and LTE on the horizon, governments and operators must act quickly to take advantage of the features that mobile Wimax technology can offer today.”
F&S believes that a core market for Wimax will be basic data connectivity in underserved areas.