The number of people grabbing their Internet access through WiMax is expected to jump to 50 million by 2014, says Juniper Research.
A report released Tuesday by the British research firm describes the growth in WiMax stemming from areas unreachable or unserved by broadband cable or DSL.
WiMax is a wireless technology that delivers broadband speeds over the last mile, ideal for locations where cabling is not available or feasible. Faster than current wireless 3G technology, WiMax can also serve large metropolitan areas as it covers a wider area than conventional Wi-Fi.
Referenced in the report, the most advanced WiMax standard, WiMAX 802.16e, delivers greater throughput than other WiMax standards.
Though large-scale WiMax deployments have been delayed, many providers have so far been successful in countries ranging from Pakistan to the U.S., says Juniper.
But WiMax faces an uphill climb against the competing wireless broadband standard Long Term Evolution, or LTE. A recent study by research firm In-Stat, predicted that WiMax may ultimately lose the battle against LTE, which is already backed by major telcos AT&T and Verizon.
Juniper Research, however, believes that the global deployment of WiMax will drive its growth. The larger number of WiMax subscribers will be in the Far East and China region, says the report, due to that area's early adoption of the technology.
WiMax gains in Western Europe and, to a lesser degree North America, will occur in areas underserved by DSL. Growth in Africa and the Middle East is likely to surpass that of Western Europe, says Juniper, gaining 15 percent of the overall WiMax subscriber base by 2014.
"WiMAX 16e will have opportunities not just in developing countries, but also areas of developed countries where the DSL coverage is weak or nonexistent," said Howard Wilcox, the author of the report. "The key for the industry ecosystem now is to overcome the challenges and ensure trials evolve into commercial services quickly."
More information about WiMax can be found here.