59 million on WiMax by 2015

There will be less WiMax users than expected by 2015 according to ABI research.

In its report it said there would be 59 million mobile WiMax users by 2015 and the mobile market for WiMax services would be five times its current size. However, it said these figures were smaller than what its analysts had predicted just a few months ago.

Research analyst Xavier Ortiz said: “WiMAX’s growth has not been as early or as strong as many would have hoped several years ago.”

He said the factors impeding WiMAX’s growth haven’t been technological, but economic and psychological: “The recession certainly played a role, making investors wary and delaying some deployments,” he said.

“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, its research predicts that WiMAX base station shipments would continue to grow through to 2015.

According to ABI the lion’s share of the market for WiMAX base stations during 2009 was divided between four major vendors. In terms of market share Alvarion is the leader, followed quite closely by Samsung. NSN (through acquisition of Motorola’s wireless networks business) and Huawei hold third and fourth place shares respectively, followed by ZTE and NEC at fifth and sixth place.

The remainder of the market is shared among “Other” smaller vendors.

Last month Infonetics Research issued a report claiming that most WiMAX operators plan to offer their services for mobile users by 2012, providing enough smartphones are developed that can actually handle the technology. The truth is, it’s going to be a case of wait and see.