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China OEMs boom as wireless market slides

Posted: 20 May 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wireless market? China OEM? base station? 3G?

LTE, WiMAX transition
India is also generating growth in unit sales with as many as 12 million new subscribers a month in a market that only has 30 percent wireless penetration. However, India is generally deploying 2G, not 3G cellular and it is even more cost sensitive than China.

India's carriers charge as little as four dollars a month in service fees. To make money at that level the country is generally transitioning from CDMA to GSM.

The transition to next generation technologies such as Long Term Evolution (LTE) and WiMAX will drive growth. But that growth will come on very gradually over the next several years, Siegler said.

Verizon, Japan's NTT DoCoMo and Sonera in Sweden will start deploying LTE next year. However, many carriers such as AT&T can bolster bandwidth using software upgrades on existing 3G HSPA networks, holding off a shift to new hardware for LTE.

"3G HSPA will dominate for at least the next ten years," Siegler said. "Without a killer app, there's no urgency to move to LTE and change out gear and phones," he added.

AT&T has said it will drive its HSPA networks this year from a maximum 3Mbit/s to 21Mbit/s, largely with a software upgrade of its 3G network.

Separately, WiMAX still represents a small fraction of the wireless market with capital spending on gear for the emerging technology at just $700 million in 2008 and expected to decline about six percent in 2009 due largely to the recession.

"The economy has really impacted the WiMAX market," he said

Nokia recently announced it has canceled plans for a high profile WiMAX consumer device, leaving the Samsung Mondi as the first WiMAX-specific device likely to debut.

"The device side drives the market," said Siegler.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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