(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Although Jordan has the lowest WiMAX subscription rates among Arab countries, telecom sector experts expect a slight drop in subscriptions to the wireless service during the next few years.
The experts said growth in the upcoming period will be mainly witnessed in Third Generation (3G) technology, which provides high-speed Internet and capacities as well as mobility.
Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) technology is a wireless communications standard that can provide fixed Internet capacities and speeds, with four to five active service providers in the country, according to the experts.
"WiMAX subscriptions will either remain the same or drop slightly in the next few years although prices of the service are very competitive in Jordan compared to other countries in the region," Mohammad Alawneh, enterprise and data solutions manager at Umniah, told The Jordan Times on Monday.
A recent report by the Arab Advisers Group indicated that Jordan has the lowest WiMAX rates in the region, while Kuwait has the highest. WiMAX is one of the fixed broadband technologies deployed in the Arab world.
"3G Internet subscriptions are growing fast in the Kingdom. The coverage of 3G networks in Jordan is better and reaches more areas than WiMAX services," Alawneh said.
"3G also enables mobile holders with smartphones to use the Internet wherever they are, but WiMAX does not enable this feature," he noted.
By the end of March, there were 7.758 million mobile subscribers in Jordan - a penetration rate of 123 per cent in a population of over 6.5 million.
According to recent figures by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, Internet penetration in Jordan reached 53 per cent by the end of March, with 678,882 Internet subscribers. Of the total, 350,627 were subscribed to the 3G technology, 201,070 to ADSL and 105,071 to WiMAX.
"Competition in the Internet sector in general is very robust compared to nearby countries. In addition, an increase in the number of 3G users is expected to lead to more competition among WiMAX providers," an ICT sector expert said Monday.
"The future is for 3G services. The number of Jordanians holding smartphones that use Internet provided by 3G is on the rise. ADSL subscriptions are expected to decline in the next few years," said the expert, who preferred anonymity.
Raed Alhaj Abed concurred.
"I used to have WiMAX, but a year ago I started using 3G because I can use the Internet dongle anywhere and anytime I want," Abed told The Jordan Times on Monday.
"WiMAX is good if one wants to use it only at home, but I prefer to have the flexibility of using the Internet anywhere and that can only be possible through the 3G," the 26-year-old a graphic designer pointed out.
Smartphone penetration in Jordan is estimated at about 45 per cent currently and it is expected to reach about 50 per cent by the end of 2012, according to the Arab Advisers Group.
The group's WiMAX Rates in the Arab World: A Regional Comparison 2012 report covered Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.