Some 4 million WiMAX chipsets for subscriber stations will be shipped this year, according to a survey from Montreal-based wireless broadband consultancy Maravedis Inc. and Reveal Wireless LLC. Although a more mature technology than LTE, the fouth-generation wireless technology it is most often compared to, the report notes that WiMAX has suffered because of the formidable competition from 3G technologies such as HSPA and HSPA+ offered by Bell Canada, Telus Corp. and Rogers Communications.
It doesn't help that the chipset market is fragmented with some 14 manufacturers, including Intel and Samsung. “This puts pressure on vendors with insufficient customer traction, lacking funding or scale, or offering only partial chipset solutions,” said Adlane Fellah, Maravedis CEO and co-author of the report.
Several early movers that entered the WiMAX market with fixed or Wave1 mobile solutions are now shipping Wave2-compliant (mobile) chipsets. The report's author believes a US$10 chip is needed to spur the market. But, it adds, few manufacturers have the scale to effectively address all market segments and no global leader has emerged. As a result, consolidation or exits among the manufacturers is expected.