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2008 Global Wireless Broadband - Next Generation Mobility

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Last updated: 10 Sep 2008 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 172

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

Publication Overview

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the worldwide development of Wireless Broadband in terms of Next Generation Mobile Networks. Information at a regional level is provided for the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. The report includes analyses, statistics, forecasts and trends. It provides a comprehensive insight into the progress of Wireless Broadband and examines the issues and opportunities for the key technologies including WiMAX, LTE, HSPA, IMS, WiFi, Bluetooth and UWB. Statistics and forecasts are included for the both the overall wireless broadband sector and the key technologies.


Subjects covered include:

·         Analyses of Next Generation Mobility;

·         Global wireless broadband statistics and forecasts;

·         WiMAX overview and statistics;

·         LTE overview and statistics;

·         WiFi overview and statistics;

·         HSPA overview and statistics;

·         IMS overview and statistics;

·         Bluetooth overview and statistics;

·         Bluetooth Low Energy/Wibree and Ultra-Wideband (UWB);

·         Regional overviews.


Researcher:- Kylie Wansink

Current publication date:- September 2008 (5th Edition)

Next publication date:- August 2009

Executive Summary

The wireless broadband sector continues to evolve as worldwide demand for wireless connectivity increases. For some time there has been an ongoing information war waged around wireless broadband developments and in 2008 it is becoming apparent that WiMAX and Long-term evolution are emerging as the most likely candidates for the Next Generation Mobile Networks. However attitudes towards the two technologies are divided, differing at a regional level and also between the types of service providers vying for this space. 

Both the emerging and developed markets around the world will benefit from wide-spread affordable wireless broadband access as there are now important social, health and economic services provided by such infrastructure such as telehealth, e-education, e-business, digital media and e-government.  

While LTE it is still in the standards process, WiMAX is beginning to be launched after standardisation three years ago. LTE is also gaining industry support however, particularly from the mobile operators, as it offers a migration path to 4G from existing 3G/HSPA technologies. In 2008 it has also become apparent that the Next Generation Mobile Network Alliance is favouring LTE for 4G.  

BuddeComm sees the future of WiMAX remaining in niche and emerging markets. There may be some good fixed wireless opportunities for WiMAX in regional markets and opportunities also exist in the enterprise segment. Operators in well developed telco markets should also be examining the various business models, rather than just appropriating the technology. In the emerging markets, the reason why WiMAX is being deployed is simple and quite basic – in most cases it is the only way to obtain a broadband connection.  

As we wait to see how the WiMAX versus LTE battle unfolds, the road to 4G has seen other technologies firmly establish themselves in the market. Around the world, HSPA systems continue to be deployed with over 200 HSDPA and 51 HSUPA networks now in commercial operation. The question is, will HSPA ever reach its true mass market potential or will 4G (ie, WiMAX, LTE) take that position? Operators around the world are also contemplating and deploying IP Multimedia Subsystem, a mobile platform that makes seamless communications possible between fixed and mobile networks.  

WiFi has been quietly establishing itself since the early part of this decade and in 2008 there are now well over 200,000 hotspots worldwide. It is set to continue to play a key role in new meshed wireless broadband developments. While further standardisation will also see WiFi included in a whole range of devices, eventually there will be competition from other mobile wireless technologies. Security issues also continue to tarnish this sector.  

Bluetooth wireless technology also continues to be widely adopted throughout the telecommunications, IT and home entertainment industries, as well as such diverse areas as automotive and health care, reaching almost all sectors of the economy. Bluetooth has become seamlessly integrated in millions of products. In this process the technology has become more of an enabling technique than a stand-alone development. In 2008 further enhancements to the Bluetooth technology are taking place, with Bluetooth Low Energy and high-speed Bluetooth key areas of focus (integrating WiFi and/or Ultra-Wideband technology).  

In this report we provide insights and analyses into the trends and developments taking place in Wireless Broadband in terms of Next Generation Mobile Networks. We provides analyses of the issues surrounding the deployment of wireless broadband and discuss the various technologies, including WiMAX, LTE, HSPA, IMS, WiFi, Bluetooth and UWB. Statistics and forecasts are included for the global wireless broadband sector, including the various technologies. Developments and statistics are also provided at a regional level for North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.  


Key highlights:

·         In the next decade, service revenue from both HSPA and wireless broadband technologies will reach more than $500 billion.

·         The majority of WiMAX subscribers worldwide are located in developing markets.  

Worldwide wireless broadband and HSPA subscribers – 2008; 2012; 2015


Wireless broadband subscribers (e)








(Source: BuddeComm based on various industry sources, 2008)


1 Includes HSPA (approx 33 million) and WiMAX (approx 2 million).

2 Number of subscribers to HSPA, HSPA+, WiMAX, LTE.


·         The installed base of Bluetooth users will reach 2 billion by 2010.

·         Wireless broadband in Eastern Europe is evolving as more metro-sized networks based on WiMAX are deployed and mobile operators pay more attention to the market.

·         In the USA, by mid-2008 WiFi had become a key technology in wireless broadband, while important WiMAX developments are about to be witnessed through the Sprint-Clearwire ‘merger’. Perhaps more significant is the mobile operators’ commitment to LTE which places it as a major wireless broadband development on the horizon.


Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.



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