WiMAX and Emerging Markets

Although many predict WiMAX failure almost before it is born, the reality is that WiMAX is far from dead.

Emerging markets (Africa, India, South East Asia or Latin America) have such a lack of proper fixed broadband that WiMAX becomes a cost effective alternative to ADSL, with the additional value of mobility.

It is true that in developed markets (US, Europe, Australia, Japan…) there might be no room for WiMAX, due to the extensive offering of multi-Mbps broadband and HSDPA mobile broadband plans. But emerging markets still need to fill the digital divide gap, and WiMAX is an effective way to do it.

Intel recently announced that Centrino 2 will have built-in WiMAX support. The initial availability, though, will only be for 2.5 GHz band, which leaves some emerging markets with 2.3 GHz and 3.5 GHz licensees, waiting some more months before enjoying the ubiquity of WiMAX support that the Centrino platform will bring to laptops.

Intel delay for some of these markets is not delaying commercial launch and as an example Malaysia already enjoy commercial WiMAX, thanks to Packet One.

The PC penetration in these markets is still low, but cheaper laptops and specially affordable netbooks as the Asus Eee PC are rapidly increasing the number of computers.  And for people owning a laptop, instead of a desktop, wireless broadband with mobility is a much better deal than ADSL.

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