Mobile WiMAX chipset shipments boom in 2009, but overall market stays flat, says Maravedis
Press release, March 10; Michael McManus, DIGITIMES [Wednesday 10 March 2010]
Shipments of mobile WiMAX chipsets reached five million in 2009, up from 1.3 million in 2008, according to research report from Maravedis. However despite the surge of mobile WiMAX device and chipset shipments, notably in the fourth quarter of 2009, the total WiMAX equipment market remained flat last year at US$1.36 billion, compared to US$1.34 billion in 2008, said Maravedis research director Adlane Fellah.
"The overall picture is mixed. Shipments of base stations decreased in 2009 and were impacted more deeply by the economic downturn, whereas device shipments, especially mobile WIMAX devices, grew at a rate of 147% year-over-year compared to 2008, correlating to the addition of a 3.5 million WIMAX subscribers during the year," Fellah said.
Indoor modems represented 48% of WiMAX units shipped in 2009, with USB dongles and PC cards representing 43%. Beceem, Sequans and GCT account for almost 90% of the total mobile WiMAX chipset market.
There are many more players in the LTE base-band chipset landscape, indicated Maravedis. However early LTE chipset suppliers may not be the long term winners in the dual-mode 3G/4G chipset market," said Maravedis' Pascal Deriot, "While LTE incumbent providers focus on sampling dual-mode chipsets, new entrants position themselves as technology drivers, delivering early LTE-only solutions."
Maravedis believes that the development of the LTE modem itself is not the most complex aspect of the global LTE picture. "Interoperability, seamless hand over, architecture expertise and management of the different bands across the world may be the most challenging obstacles facing LTE chipset suppliers," added Deriot.
The report confirms that both WiMAX and LTE are converging upon 4G service capabilities. LTE's primary market, incumbent 3G operators, will be unlikely to significantly deploy LTE sooner than early 2012.