Can Wimax and LTE be complementary?

Jessica Scarpati
14 Dec 2010
Although LTE hype appears to have rung the death knell for Wimax, the market has continued to grow for three consecutive quarters, Webb said. Global Wimax device and equipment sales rose 8% from the second quarter of this year to $355 million in the third quarter this year. Year over year revenue rose 9%. Most activity has come from APAC, but Webb expects operators in India, North Africa, the Middle East and Latin America to continue to fuel growth.
KT Corp., a South Korean telecom operator, expects regulatory bodies to release the 900 Mhz band of spectrum it has acquired for LTE next year, according to Hyun-Pyo Kim, director of mobile research and development at KT, speaking recently on an operator roundtable at 4G World in Chicago. KT plans to deploy LTE a year later.
But LTE won't be the only 4G technology KT markets. In 2006, it launched WiBro -- a version of Wimax developed by South Korean operators. The service was initially launched in Seoul for mobile broadband customers using USB dongles. KT intends to service smartphones with an LTE network, Kim said.
"People don't care about what the technology is, but they care about price, performance and coverage," Kim said at 4G World. "[We will deploy both 4G technologies] to provide good quality of service at the right time that our market demands and expects."
Japanese wireless operator KDDI Corp. launched Wimax last year and operates 11,000 Wimax base stations nationwide. It will add LTE services at the end of 2012 with a similar market strategy to KT, reserving it for mobile broadband, said Hideo Okinaka, vice president and general manager of the operator's emerging technologies and spectrum division, speaking on the same 4G World roundtable.
About 20% of customers access KDDI's Wimax network using MiFi, 70% with a USB dongle and 10% use embedded devices, Okinaka said, noting that he expected the proportion of MiFi access to grow.
"We are positioning LTE … to cellular customers. We are not targeting dongle[s] or the modem. We are targeting smartphones and feature phones," Okinaka said. "We position Wimax as a means to give customers superior Internet access in the mobile environment."
Jessica Scarpati is news writer at
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