WiMAX has failed, industry guru claims

Hermann Hauser, the man who span off ARM from Acorn and later CSR, said at a roundtable today here in Paris that WiMAX has failed.

He believes that LTE will be the future shape of fast broadband on the planet  because it is a standard loved by the telcos, that will determine the shape of fast connections to come.

He said: “There’s no doubt that the next generation standard will be LTE.” Hauser is director of Amadeus Capital Partners and also has an interest in Cambridge Broadband.

WiMAX has its place, however. He said he was in Kazan, the capital of former Soviet state Tata, and he was greeted by the president who showed off his  BlackBerry, powered by WiMAX.

Intel responded swiftly to Hauser’s statement. The chip giant, which has promoted WiMAX as a broadband alternative for some years, said in an official response: “WiMAX has over 460 commercial deployments in 135 countries. The WiMAX Forum recently announced that it forecasts more than 700 million WiMAX people will be covered by WiMAX at the end of 2010 and we remain on track for that. Hardly representative of a “dead” technology.”

Sources said that Intel challenged the view that LTE rules or will rule in the future. While LTE made its first phone call in June this year, it is a wired connection, and LTE isn’t wireless yet.

Hauser was speaking at a roundtable at the Etre conference in Paris. The panel was strongly divided between the benefits of LTE technology versus WiMAX. Behrooz Rezvani, chairman of Quantenna, maintained that wi-fi and WiMAX would have a large part to play in the broadband of the future.

Texas Instruments VP and general manager of wireless baseband EU, said he was strongly of the opinion that LTE was the broadband technology of the future. He said that samples of LTE chipsets were already shipping to customers in a field trial, “today”. He estimated that in the next three years there would be volume deployment of the technology.

* Disclaimer; I was the moderator of this roundtable which also included Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation and Mauro Pretolani, general partner of TLcom Capital Partners. I got paid nothing for moderating it. I didn’t even get dinner. I just happened to be here.