LTE thrives, Wimax survives

John C. Tanner
14 Dec 2009

If you thought 2009 was the peak of the hype cycle for LTE, think again. 2010 is where the real action is going to start in terms of service launches.

As such, the LTE story over the next few years is likely to include delays, soft launches, islands of coverage, lack of terminals and an uncertain business model - all the things that plagued 3G's initial launch - before it finally settles in to its rightful place as the most common wireless broadband standard, followed by LTE-Advanced (which will probably be called 5G), which will realistically see the commercial light of day somewhere around 2015 or so.

Which is at least partially why no one should be writing off Wimax just yet.

Despite all the dire predictions about Wimax's redundancy in the face of LTE and its doomed future as a niche technology, it's still managed to rack up 500 deployments and close to four million subscribers globally. And with many markets still unlikely to roll out LTE before 2013-2015, Wimax still has room to grow.

That doesn't mean Wimax isn't facing any challenges - many operators are still dealing with problems of capacity, lack of devices and interoperability, not to mention the GSMA PR juggernaut deriding Wimax as a waste of time. But come 2020, Wimax will still be here.

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