By 2015, there will be more than 5 billion wireless connections worldwide, and as much as 97 per cent of these new subscriptions will come from emerging markets, with at least half of this amount coming from India and China.

In line with these forecasts, infrastructure vendor Nokia Siemens Networks sees connectivity as its prime target and has its sights set on the number one market position. However, Markku Hollstrom, head of broadband wireless product management at the vendor, is quick to point out that WiMAX “Isn’t an either or proposition for emerging markets or mature markets, it’s both,” he says.

While connectivity in emerging markets offers a significant opportunity for kit makers, Hollstrom believes there is just as much potential for WiMAX in developed countries too. “Traffic growth is pointing to the situation that 3G network capacity will soon be exhausted in some countries, so we need alternatives,” he told

But while some industry players say an explosion in multimedia is already driving this growth, Hollstrom believes this explosion is yet to come. “Multimedia is not so significant yet, although once the technology is in place there is nothing to stop innovation,” he said. “The kind of applications and services you use now [on a desktop] also make sense on the move but it’s also about convenience and connectivity,” Hollstrom said. “The capabilities of the technology will shape its usage, “he added, citing YouTube as an example of a service that is becoming popular on mobile devices as networks have evolved to provide enough capacity for access.

At a recent analyst event in London, NSN warned that the next hurdle the telecoms industry faces is an anticipated 100 fold increase in network traffic over the next eight years, all of which has to be delivered at the lowest total cost of ownership. “In the developed world,” said NSN’s chief technical officer, Stefan Scholz, “HDTV and STBs are all delivering lots of traffic as are new, smarter devices and flat rate subscriptions, the problem facing the industry is how to grow revenue as traffic grows – we need to optimise cost despite high capacity and low ARPU.”