WiMAX carriers positive outlook on sub growth boosts Taiwan WiMAX CPE industry in 3Q09, says MIC
Press release, December 11; Meiling Chen, DIGITIMES [Monday 14 December 2009]
Taiwan WiMAX CPE industry shipment volume reached 844,500 units in the third quarter of 2009, representing 56.7% sequential growth and 236.5% on-year growth, according to Taipei-based Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC). The industry's shipment value reached US$68.8 million in the third quarter. The substantial growth can be ascribed to WiMAX carriers' positive outlook for subscriber growth in 2010, compared with the relatively conservative stance in 2009, and these carriers have therefore shown increasing demand for WiMAX CPEs. In addition, the price tags of WiMAX CPEs have dropped to a level acceptable to the carriers, which also played an instrumental role in the growth of WiMAX CPE shipment volume, MIC noted.
Thanks to the maturation of network deployment, the quality of signal coverage and network connections has seen significant improvement, therefore enhancing subscribers' satisfaction with WiMAX services and boosting the willingness to adopt WiMAX. At the same time, owing to the rapid price drops of WiMAX access devices such as indoor and outdoor CPE and USB dongles, WiMAX carriers were able to plan more cost-effective service packages as the burden of subsidies for CPEs was lessened. The ASP of Taiwan WiMAX CPE shipments has come down to around US$81.5 in the third quarter of 2009, down from US$147.2 a year ago.
Judging from these development trends, it can be seen that the improvement of network quality and the lowering of device prices are conducive to subscriber and shipment growth. As most WiMAX carriers worldwide are still in the initial phase of network deployment, it is projected that there will be two to three more years of rapid development before subscriber saturation.
In the third quarter, 802.16e products were the predominant type of shipments, representing a share of over 98% in the industry's overall shipment volume. In terms of function, indoor CPEs was the leading shipments with a share of 43.5%, followed by USB dongles with 23.6%. Outdoor CPE shipment represented a share of 13.9%, while the shipment share of other types of devices reached 19%, among which WiMAX modules for use mobile Internet access devices (MIDs) emerged as the most significant type of shipments. More than 30 models of WiMAX-enabled notebook and netbooks have already been launched in the market. It is expected that the number of WiMAX-enabled MIDs will continue to grow along with the maturation of WiMAX networks. Therefore, it is projected that WiMAX module shipment volume will see further growth in 2010.
According to MIC industry analyst Xiang-Yu Yen, "Currently most major WiMAX carriers or system integrators seek to transplant their network deployment experiences, CPE testing experiences, and business models to other regions. It is expected that in 2010, WiMAX carriers, branded equipment vendors, and system integrators will wield greater bargaining power for CPE prices by leveraging economies of scale." Yen added, "As a result, Taiwan CPE makers will see gradual declines in gross profits and will have to expand production volume and market share so as to maintain their lead in the market. At the same time, it is expected that Korea and China-based equipment companies will continue to make gains in market share. However, as they mostly have their own production operations and rarely outsource production to Taiwan makers, it will pose a crucial task for Taiwan makers to break into their supply chains so as to boost shipment volume."
It is projected that boosted by growth in Russia, India, and North America, Taiwan WiMAX CPE shipment volume will top 1.1 million units in the fourth quarter of 2009. Looking ahead to 2010, with the expansion of WiMAX service coverage in North America, issuance of spectrum licenses in India, and further promotion of WiMAX services in Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, it is forecast that Taiwan WiMAX CPE shipment volume will continue to grow in the first three quarters of 2010.