LTE Watch: Yota Drops WiMax for LTE

Russian wireless broadband pioneer Yota says that it is dropping WiMax in favor of Long Term Evolution (LTE) for new deployments, in this week's summary of the big news for the proto-4G specification.

  • Yota said Friday that it plans to spend $100 million on the rollout of LTE networks in five Russian cities in 2010, instead of sticking with the WiMax technology that it had been working with. Reuters reports that the operator is planning to deploy LTE in 15 cities over time.

    By dumping WiMax in favor of LTE, Yota is doing what comparable US carriers have only so far talked about. Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) have both expressed interest in deploying LTE instead of WiMax in the future, but neither has laid out any actual roadmap for such a change yet. (See Sprint RFP May Include LTE and Clearwire Paves Way for LTE in US.)

  • High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498), LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) , Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), and BlackBerry are all said to be developing LTE handsets for Verizon Wireless 's LTE network in 2011, Brighthand notes. Verizon had initially said that it would have at least one LTE handset ready in the first half of 2011. (See LTE Watch: Verizon Shows Off in Boston.)

    This video from IDG on the NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) prototype LTE terminal offers some clues on what early handsets might be like:

  • Meanwhile, WiMax backer Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) may not be putting all its eggs in one basket, according to a report in the Financial Times Deutschland. The German paper reports that the chipmaker is in talks with the wireless arm of Infineon Technologies AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: IFX), which would give it more access to LTE and other wireless technologies.

  • Verizon's rural plans for LTE will even take the service to areas where the carrier doesn't offer CDMA phone service today, the Wireless Federation blog says.

  • Maravedis Inc. expects LTE subscribers to hit 200 million by 2015, according to CNET.

    — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

  • stelabokun 12/5/2012 | 4:35:19 PM
    re: LTE Watch: Yota Drops WiMax for LTE

    In the last several months I had the opportunity to talk to several guys from Yota’s leadership team, and  they never really excluded the possibility that they would switch to LTE, though I didn’t expect it this soon…The news does come as a shocker since they were one of the rare WiMAX success stories globally with around 350K subs and 3K new subscribers daily…didn’t they just sign a deal with Samsung (at the beginning of 2010) for 5K new WiMAX base stations?! Also, in April, they were supposed to introduce a new Lenovo PC with embedded WiMAX equipment, and another one in May (Samsung NC10) into their device portfolio…

    digits 12/5/2012 | 4:35:17 PM
    re: LTE Watch: Yota Drops WiMax for LTE

    Yes, this is a surprise, as Yota was so bullish on WiMax and on Samsung's technology.

    So this has got to be a big blow for the WiMax market -- Yota was a poster child startup. I expect LTE to take another chunk out of WiMAx in india too once the BWA auctions are completed. It doesn't mean the death of WiMax - it just means the opportunities for the WiMax vendors will be more limited as LTE become a preferred technology in spectrum that until now will have been regarded as prime WiMax real estate.

    It shows, too, that operators such as Yota that have invested in the appropriate transport and core technology can consider this kind of switch without having to embark on a transformation process that will take years and years.

    An interesting move for sure.

    Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 4:35:15 PM
    re: LTE Watch: Yota Drops WiMax for LTE

    The market opportunity for 802.16m, or WiMax 2, looks to be shrinking by the day. 

    And it is surprising that Yota made this decision so soon, given the success it has had with WiMax.

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