WiMax expected to remain a niche market application, research firm believes

While the development of WiMax wireless broadband is accelerating with more and more hardware announcements and an increasing number of field tests, iSuppli expects the technology to be limited to serving niche market applications in the near term.

The firm's less than optimistic conclusion is based on the fact that there are competing wireline and/or wireless technologies in each of the market segments being targeted by WiMax. To gain adoption, WiMax will either have to displace a competing technology or provide a supplementary solution, iSuppli said.

The firm estimates that less than 5 percent of broadband subscribers or a total of about 9.3 million people will use WiMax as a fixed wireless broadband access technology by 2010. By the end of this year, there will be 670,000 WiMax customers - about 0.8 percent of the total broadband population.