In the 4G segment, LTE equipment spending passed WiMAX for the first time in Q2 2011, with the global LTE market at about $0.6 billion and WiMAX at $0.5 billion, according to Infonetics Research.
The combined LTE and WiMAX equipment spending is likely to grow at a 46 percent 5-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2010 to 2015.
The overall 2G, 3G, 4G infrastructure market continues to evolve on strong footing led by GSM, W-CDMA, and unabated WiMAX and LTE deployments, with equipment spending up 25.2 percent year-over year (Q2 2010 to Q2 2011) and up 4.5 percent sequentially in Q2 2011.
WiMAX continues its solid performance, finding growth from network expansions plus new niches in utility networks. Despite now being overtaken by LTE, as had been expected, UQ’s investment in 802.16m shows there is an alternative 4G roadmap,” said Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave and small cells at Infonetics Research and co-author of the report.
Recent market reports suggest that inadequate 3G networks are likely to push for the growth of LTE in emerging markets. With the current 3G networks proving incapable of handling the growth in mobile data traffic, mobile operators in India, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E. are soon expected to migrate to 4G technologies to accommodate the surge in data traffic.
As many as 218 operators in 81 countries are investing in LTE. At least 24 LTE networks have been commercially launched in 16 countries, and at least 91 new LTE networks are expected to be commercially launched by 2012, according to GSA.
The number of firm network deployment LTE commitments has more than doubled since June 2010. Comparing HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA+ and LTE growth 6-12 months post their commercial launch, the GSA report proves that LTE is the fastest growing mobile network and the recent rapid increase in mobile data traffic, currently supported primarily by HSPA and HSPA+ systems, is driving the interest in deploying LTE.
Recently, WiMax Forum announced that over 823 million people were covered by WiMAX networks at the beginning of 2011. By the end of 2011 the WiMAX Forum estimates that number to increase to more than one billion people. Now WiMAX technology is used by consumers in 150 countries, and is gaining acceptance in vertical industries such as aviation and Smart Grid.
Subscriber growth for WiMAX operators continues in all regions as they build their customer bases. There is a strong growth in the U.S., the Indian sub-continent, and Latin America. With the levels of operator activity and device ecosystem growing, WiMAX subscribers will surpass 100 million by the end of 2015.
According to WiMAX Forum, in 2011 WiMAX equipment alone is expected to be a $2 billion industry. Investment in WiMAX technology is flowing, and in the first half of 2011 over 30 different WiMAX networks were either launched or expanded operations.
The Infonetics report said a cumulative total of nearly $250 billion is forecast to be spent on mobile infrastructure during 2011-2015. Hope both LTE and WiMAX will gain the confidence of telecom operators across the world.