Research: Voice Playing Critical Role In WiMAX Adoption

While U.S. urban residents wait for the first green shoots of wireless broadband, a number of countries are viewing WiMAX as a way to bring voice services to remote locations. India, Africa, and Eastern Europe are now leading WiMAX adoption.

“WiMAX is certainly a cheap way of delivering voice,” Infonetics analyst Richard Webb told Enterprise

India is now the largest global opportunity for WiMAX, according to the report, with remote U.S. installations in second place. In both cases, the rise in demand is due to a paucity of broadband coverage.

“There isn’t coverage for fixed or mobile voice,” Webb said. Unlike the roll-outs of previous service, such as 3G, American rural areas will lead the rest of the nation.

Africa is also leading WiMAX growth, and again voice plays a critical component. Despite a lack of funding, Africa’s 35 nations now have 80 WiMAX networks, according to Infonetics.

Demand for voice and broadband are driving the upsurge in WiMAX connectivity, the research firm reports.

While in India and Africa, WiMAX growth is spurred by a need for affordable voice services, in Eastern Europe the demand is due to a lack of infrastructure, Webb said.

“Most countries in Central and Eastern Europe have WiMAX deployments underway and more than 20 operators offer VoIP-over-WiMAX service, a major driver of adoption,” according to the report.

Along with developing nations, Russia is described as the ‘perfect storm’ for WiMAX, with an unmet demand for voice and broadband.

Closer to home, rural U.S. areas are becoming the loudest cheerleaders for WiMAX. The reasons are similar to India and Africa—lack of infrastructure or providers.

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