Despite Obvious Gains, WiMAX Presents Niche Opportunities Through 2008 for Semiconductor Suppliers, IDC Reveals

FRAMINGHAM, MA – December 7, 2004 – Although WiMAX presents a potential opportunity for wireless networking and broadband silicon suppliers, it is still too early for communications IC vendors to commit to this technology, reveals a new IDC study. Until major service providers make a firm commitment to deploy WiMAX, only a niche market opportunity exists through 2008. IDC believes there is a larger addressable market in the 802.11e mobility space, but it will compete heavily against other wireless networking technologies.

"The biggest questions with respect to WiMAX silicon are whether or not there is a big enough market opportunity, whether or not service providers will support WiMAX, and whether or not there is room for WiMAX to coexist among numerous other wired and wireless networking technologies," said Ken Furer, analyst for Semiconductor Research at IDC.

Among the wildcards discussed in this study are the following:

— Chipmakers and OEMs need service provider support for fixed wireless broadband in rural and emerging markets.

— WiMAX poses a cheaper alternative to T1 lines for wireless hotspot backhaul, but the volumes involved would not justify the network investment.

— 802.16e chipsets can enable broadband mobility in 2007, primarily in laptop PCs.

This IDC new study, Worldwide WiMAX Semiconductor 2004-2008 Forecast and Analysis: New Markets Show Potential (IDC #32294), examines the WiMAX standard for fixed and mobile wireless broadband as defined by the IEEE 802.16 Task Group. It includes both a high-level and semiconductor-specific overview of the technology, explores its role within the wireless universe, and presents forecast data for WiMAX adoption over the next four years. The study also highlights key semiconductor vendors investing in WiMAX.

To purchase this document, call IDC's Sales hotline at 508-988-7988 or email

For more information about IDC's Semiconductor Research, please contact Anne-Sophie Dankens at 508-935-4313 or

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