Nearly 59 million mobile WiMAX subscribers predicted by 2015
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Nearly 59 million mobile WiMAX subscribers predicted by 2015

According to new projections from ABI Research (http://www.abiresearch.com), the number of subscribers to mobile WiMAX services will approach 59 million in 2015. And I think the technology will come to Macs in the not-too-distant future.

That represents a positive forecast in light of recent economic conditions, although research analyst Xavier Ortiz notes, “WiMAX’s growth has not been as early or as strong as many would have hoped several years ago.”

The recession certainly played a role, making investors wary and delaying some deployments, he says. On top of that, delays in the formation of the new Clearwire have constrained the rest of the ecosystem to some degree, from subscribers to devices and chipsets. The factors impeding WiMAX’s growth haven’t been technological, according to Ortiz, but economic and psychological.

"The recession certainly played a role, making investors wary and delaying some deployments," he explains. "On top of that, delays in the formation of the new Clearwire have constrained the rest of the ecosystem to some degree, from subscribers to devices and chipsets.”

Subscriber growth and base station shipments go hand in hand, and despite uncertainty among many operators as to which mobile 4G platform -- WiMAX or TD-LTE -- to choose, ABI Research’s forecasts see WiMAX base station shipments continuing to grow (albeit at a slowing pace) through the current 2015 forecast period.

"Depending on the particular vendor, much of the hardware in a WiMAX base station may be re-usable for TD-LTE. Service providers adopting WiMAX but interested in upgrading their networks have been choosing those infrastructure vendors that can offer the options of staying with WiMAX (moving towards 802.16m) or moving towards TD-LTE," says Ortiz. "This creates a sense of reassurance for service providers."

And when it comes to the Mac, as one source (who asked to remain anonymous) pointed out, the combination of Apple and Intel products that exists now with the addition of the WiMax technology would provide the possibility of broadband that would exceed any current WiFi networking. Imagine this scenario: WiMAX networks across the country that would naturally include Macs, iPods, iPhones, routers, servers, ExpressCards, PC cards and, well, you the picture. In other words, broadband for everyone -- pioneered and provided for you by Apple and Intel and anyone who would license the technology.

VoIP easily done. Data transfer in seconds. Across the country and across the world economically and for everyone. Not likely, you say? Perhaps, but it's fun to Think Different. Besides, can you really rule out any possibilities such as this where Jobs & Company are concerned?

-- Dennis Sellers

 
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