A new report from Juniper Research suggests that the burgeoning WiMAX opportunity has the potential to take 12% of DSL customers from existing service providers within 5 years. The report’s author Howard Wilcox says WiMAX will be particularly attractive in “…areas where the existing DSL speed is suboptimal.” Wilcox points out, and rightfully so, that WiMAX deployments will start out as fixed broadband wireless deployments, and WiMAX service providers will aggressively pursue existing broadband subscribers. WiMAX will have a competitive advantage as well – portability. Customers will be able to take their broadband access with them, both locally (where coverage is available), and nationally (assuming adequate roaming relationships get established). That advantage will grab the attention of some existing broadband subs.
Of course, this won’t be a “cake walk” for WiMAX providers either. There are several details to be worked out, the most important of which is proving the technology works on a massive scale and can provide the level of service that customers will expect and demand. Wilcox also points out another important one, “Brand identification and service differentiation are major marketing challenges facing new WiMAX operators.” Predictions like this one are sure to multiply in the wake of the recent news of Sprint and Clearwire joining forces with Intel, Google, and the cable industry for a massive WiMAX boost in the U.S. Assuming the deal consummates and the technology works, WiMAX’s impact on the competitive landscape for both wired and wireless broadband cannot be underestimated.