MONTREAL, CANADA: Approximately 400,000 BWA/WiMAX subscribers and 50 million new active 3G subscribers were added in Q1 2009, according to the latest quarterly report published by Maravedis as part of its leading 4GCounts subscription service.
The average BWA/WiMAX subscriber growth rate was 13% over Q4 2008, and there was a 75 percent year-over-year growth rate since Q1 2008. “Global service revenue growth is tapering off as WiMAX operators experience ARPU stagnation and subscriber growth slow down,” noted Maravedis CEO and Founder, Adlane Fellah.
“2008 was a difficult year for WiMAX and during Q1 2009, the slowdown continued as operators watched their wallets closely in order to survive the downturn,” noted Cintia Garza, co-author of the report.
The quarterly report also explores the motivations for 3G operators to invest in LTE and what challenges they will face when adopting this technology. “Our research reveals that 37 percent of operators consider LTE as their best option available today to address the need for higher bandwidth services and capacity, while 15 percent believe LTE will give them added flexibility to use different spectrum bands,” said report co-author Basharat Ashai.
This quarter's summary findings:
* The top 30 mobile operators committed to LTE accounted in Q1 2009 for 1.1 billion mobile subscribers, of which 447 million correspond to China Mobile. Many of these subscribers are served with GSM, 3G or HSPA technologies and will be migrated to LTE in the future.
* Twenty eight percent of the operators pointed to technological delays as the main challenge for adopting LTE; 24 percent revealed that interoperability between the LTE vendors is a concern; 10% pointed to the lack of spectrum/delayed auctions as a challenge.
* The split by subscriber type among 4GCounts operators was 69 percent residential and 31 percent business.
* Q1 2009 recorded WiMAX ARPU was $42.43 and $116.82 for residential and business segments respectively, compared to $42.33 and $122.64 for the same segments in Q4 2008.
* Out of all CPEs deployed as of Q1 2009, 4GCounts showed 26 percent were 802.16-2004, 20 percent were 802.16e-2005, and 54 percent were vendor proprietary.
* Clearwire USA continues to be the top BWA/WIMAX operator in terms of the number of subscribers. The operator had 500,000 subscribers at the end of Q1 2009, an increase of 5 percent compared with 475,000 reported in Q4 2008.