According to In-Stat, carriers need to put together their strategies concerning WiMAX now, even though the impact of WiMAX on the cellular industry is not currently known. For existing cellular carriers, WiMAX may potentially become a big competitor, a great ally, or a minor factor. A strategy for WiMAX is the biggest decision cellular carriers have had to make since planning for 3G deployment.
In-Stat believes WiMAX faces many challenges, including multiple incompatibility standards, different frequency allocations in each country, and expensive consumer devices. But fixed-line WiMAX is here, and mobile WiMAX will be arriving in the next few years.
In-Stat found the following in their research:
- Mobile VoWiMAX isn’t likely to be used much before 2009.
- There are many profiles in different regions of the world, meaning that WiMAX devices will likely operate differently in different regions, unless device manufacturers are willing to accept extra expenses to make a universal WiMAX device that supports all profiles.
- When WiMAX competes with cellular, cellular operators will be forced to decrease their prices for wireless data services over cellular. Even if WiMAX fails after that point, it is unlikely that cellular carriers will ever again be able to charge the amount they currently do for wireless data services.
The research, WiMAX and Cellular: Threat or Opportunity—Cellular Carrier Strategies, covers the impact of WiMAX on the cellular industry. It includes a detailed analysis of WiMAX drivers and challenges, and the potential responses by cellular carriers. It also contains a forecast of Voice over WiMAX subscribers through 2011. The price is $3,495 (US).