WiMax woos subscribers away from DSL

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WiMax is expected to become an "appealing substitute" to traditional fixed-line broadband over the coming years, according to Juniper Research..

The analyst firm predicts that up to 12 per cent of DSL broadband subscribers will transfer to fixed WiMax connections within five years.

WiMax is well suited to rapid deployment in underserved areas as well as in developed countries, according to the report.

A region-by-region analysis found that the Far East is expected to lead the charge by signing up over a fifth of the 47 million subscribers anticipated by 2013.

"WiMax will be an attractive offer in areas where there are no wired networks, and where existing DSL speeds are suboptimal," said Juniper Research analyst Howard Wilcox.

"WiMax will solve the broadband access problem for users located at the fringes of DSL coverage."

The report suggests that the majority of the WiMax 802.16e trials and network contracts will begin by providing fixed broadband, with mobile usage developing after initial demand for fixed and portable services.

Juniper Research forecasts that the annual fixed WiMax global market will exceed 13 million subscribers by 2013.

The top three regions will be the Far East, the US and Western Europe, which will collectively represent over 60 per cent of the $20bn annual global WiMax service revenue by that time.

However, Wilcox warned that new WiMax operators will face major marketing challenges around brand identification and service differentiation.

"Many existing broadband providers are household names that already have widespread market presence and recognition," he said.

"WiMax operators will need to identify and promote their unique selling points, while avoiding entering the market on the basis of price."

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