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4G/3G/WiFi

The Long, Slow Demise of WiMax

6:00 PM -- We're just days ahead of Mobile World Congress, an event that is likely to be one of the largest Long Term Evolution (LTE) love-fests yet seen. (See MWC 2010: The LTE G8.)

So, its no surprise that talk about the death of WiMax is on the agenda again. Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) says it isn't doing much with the technology anymore, and even Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) says it could eventually switch to LTE.

Here's the thing though: Unlike LTE, WiMax has already been deployed around the world. Witness the stubborn after-life of iDEN: Networks that are already installed have a habit of sticking around.

In Russia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East, there's already plenty of WiMax happening -- hell, even in the U.S., Clearwire says it covers around 30 million potential customers. The first and only commercial LTE network is officially said to cover around 450,000 people at the moment. (See NSN Replaces Huawei in Euro LTE Rollout.)

The question is, will WiMax gain enough traction in the few years (maybe more) it will take to deploy widespread LTE to make it worthwhile supporting after 2015? It should be relatively easy to make a radio that switches between WiMax and LTE -- they're based on the same underlying technology after all. It is simply a matter of whether the technology gets enough subscribers in the interim and what the magic number is to make it worthwhile.

I don't know what the answer is yet, but I suspect we'll have a clearer picture by the end of this year. Predicting the end of WiMax before LTE is even really available seems a trifle foolhardy to me, though. — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:42:57 PM
re: The Long, Slow Demise of WiMax

And there's no WAY the New Orleans Saints could hope to beat the all-powerful Peyton Manning, the consensus pick as greatest QB ever...


Just sayin' there's always room for an upset, eh? No matter what the "experts" say.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:42:57 PM
re: The Long, Slow Demise of WiMax

And there's no WAY the New Orleans Saints could hope to beat the all-powerful Peyton Manning, the consensus pick as greatest QB ever...


Just sayin' there's always room for an upset, eh? No matter what the "experts" say.

omniobso 12/5/2012 | 4:42:57 PM
re: The Long, Slow Demise of WiMax

I swear; you're ready to go head to head with, Ben Stein.  With your 'pork pie' hat and deadpan, your a natural "standup comic".


It is really nice to hear a voice 'in the wilderness', that is ahead of the pack.  In short or long. LTE is the teleco's equivalent to the 2011 PONTIAC!

lrmobile_kumaramitabh 12/5/2012 | 4:42:56 PM
re: The Long, Slow Demise of WiMax

If the announcement of LTE makes someone think of the proverbial" Long Tail", this is not it. WiMAX is more like a fox- with a bushy tail with a robust use, as are its services. It has been pointed out that WiMAX is widely used in Asia, Europe, Russia and even the United States and all of these are for a good reason.WiMAX is a technology which has proven itself very well in rural and urban environment in a number of countries. It is based on the use of large spectrum slots ( such as 20 MHz) and does not clash with the 3G crowded bands.It is unique in adaptive modultion and maintaining the QoS parameters set. All these are well known. However it is also open and brings the wireless broadband most effectively.Unfortunately this is precisely what is not liked by many mobile operators who wish to push their own mobile networks and so the heavy going, particularly when the hands which started it off ( in USA) were weak. Go anywhere else and those who use it swear by it. WiMAX is not intended to compete with LTE, nor is LTE likely to replace it in a hurry. wimax-home.com

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:42:56 PM
re: The Long, Slow Demise of WiMax

Slightly tongue-in-cheek for sure. 


 


I honestly don't think its an incredibly controversial point-of-view though. People that believe that LTE will be smoothly deployed without a hitch in 2010 have either forgotten how long it took for 3G networks to arrive or just weren't around for the hype cycle in -- what -- 1999, 2000, etc. Things will go wrong and take longer than expected, that's just the way wireless works.


 


 

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