WiMAX faces an LTE broadband crunch

The WiMAX standard for fixed wireless access is under increasing pressure from other broadband technologies and late deployments are casting doubt on whether it will end out to be a winner in the race.

According to Future Horizons in its December report to its clients, mobile radio technologies including WDA-HSDPA, LTE, CDMA EVDO, IEEE802.20 and improved wireless LANs including IEEE802.11n for buildings will give WiMAx a run for its money.

But says chief analyst Malcolm Penn, WiMAX is being considered as a broadband data component of 4G mobile radio. He said: “The idea is to make an interim solution using 3G plus WiMAX. This may persuade operators to move to WiMAX rather than to an expensive LTE or 4G solution in one step.”

He said that while there is WiMAX roll out in South Korea, India, and the Middle East, “there has been delay following delay in the USA. The last but one delay was instrumental in the US Spring/Clearwite partnership breakup.”

British implementations such as the PIPE/Freedom4 rollout is limited by very sparse coverage and there are also worries about too little spectrum available in the rest of Europe.

This leaves a gap that other technologies may well fill. “Deployments of HSDPA are well underway and it looks like LTE will be following closely on its heels during 2010.”

WiMAX, however, “is not yet dead”. Future Horizons anticipates it will grow through the next five  years, although the next 18 months will test its viability.

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