Mobile WiMAX Subscriber Numbers Surpass Fixed for the First Time

Posted by at 11:43 am on February 16, 2010

4.73 million active WiMAX subscribers were reached by the end of Q3 2009, and for the first time, the number of mobile WiMAX (802.16e-2005) subscribers surpassed the number of fixed WiMAX (802.16-2004) subscribers worldwide, according to the 10th issue of the 4GCounts Quarterly Report from Maravedis.

WiMAX embedded devices are slowly growing their share of the installed base. “77% of CPEs installed in Q3 2009 were indoor CPEs with over 3.6 million units, followed by USB dongles (595,000 units or 13%) and, PCMCIA cards (244,000 units or 5%),” said Cintia Garza, co-author of the report and 4GCounts team leader.

On the LTE side, the second half of 2009 showed progress in terms of new LTE operator commitments -“ 51 by the end of the quarter -“ but also in terms of device certification scheme and the chipset development.

“Although dual mode devices including GSM, EVDO, and LTE are not yet commercially available, the first engineering samples of dual-mode chipsets were shipped in early 2009. Devices will become available in the second half of 2010 for dongles/embedded applications, but not until 2011 for handsets and lower power devices such as MiFi WiFi routers,” commented Esteban Monturus, 4GCounts analyst for Europe.

This Quarter’s Summary Findings

The average residential and business ARPU generated among operators during Q3 2009 across all regions was US$41 and US$121, respectively. BWA/WiMAX base station sectors installed as of Q3 2009 totaled 201,355 -“ an increase of 25% from 160,882 the previous quarter. 85% of WiMAX operators offer unlimited data usage compared to 41% of 3G operators. That proportion will gradually decrease as operators look for new ways to manage data consumption.

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