updated 05:10 pm EST, Fri January 25, 2008
LTE vs WiMAX Report
The Intel-backed Xohm WiMAX service from Sprint is unlikely to survive as a fourth-generation (4G) cellular Internet standard in the face of its main challenger Long Term Evolution, according to a new analyst report from Maravedis. Although Intel has generally backed the service and expects to make WiMAX a staple of its Montevina notebook platform in mid-year, both troubles inside Sprint and opposition from other cell carriers backing LTE are believed in the report to be sinking Xohm's hopes for future success.
The other companies are the most important factor, Maravedis notes. While Sprint itself has seen the forced departure of executives, including CEO Gary Forsee last year and three officers this month, other firms are increasingly turning towards LTE as their choice for 4G access. Both AT&T and Verizon have anticipated using the faster standard, which tops 326Mbps in peak conditions versus a fraction for WiMAX. Without enough supporters, WiMAX could flounder regardless of its technical merits, the analysis says, also suggesting that WiMAX could merge with LTE if the two end up sharing the same frequencies in key countries.
The ongoing 700MHz FCC auction is said to be a potential decisive factor as it may popularize WiMAX if the technology is adapted to the frequency and enough devices support such a format, which would provide very long range versus most existing 3G technology.
Companies such as Apple and Nokia are commonly accepted as being dependent on the choice of such standards, as many retain ties to Intel either for mobile platforms (as with Apple) or for wireless standards (such as Nokia). Nokia has expressed support for both WiMAX and its rival LTE, pledging a tablet for Sprint's Xohm service but also testing LTE with unknown prototypes. [via InformationWeek]