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LTE to eclipse WiMAX in 4G cellular wars?

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]

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Amitabh

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2008


    WiMAX eclipsed by 4G?

    The WiMAX and 3G Evolutions/ LTE debate is not new. Nevertheless there can not be one technology which can be deemed as superior without specifying a range of factors such as rural/ suburban or urban usage, type of applications and user densities. Mobile WiMAX or WiMAX is capable of providing wireless overlays in rural areas and this has been also one its early application. WiMAX also classes of service which provide more reliable deliveries of Video or VoIP, which at present can not be matched by any competing technology. The MBS multicast feature of mobile WiMAX can deliver streaming multicast services to hundreds of thousands of customers. At the same time HSPA or LTEs enjoy the legacy advatage of incremental capex over existing 3G networks and the ready targeting of a large base of customers under the 3G (UMTS or CDMA) technologies. Neverthless it can not overcome the basic architectural weakness of the 3G as of today. Hence the advantage that these networks enjoy may be more fickle than believed. Amitabh Kumar

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