Feature Article

February 26, 2009

In-Stat: WiMAX Leads LTE in Wireless 4G Race

Mobile WiMAX will outpace its rival 4G technology, Long Term Evolution (LTE) over the next few years due to its head start on deployments, says a latest report from high-tech research firm In-Stat.
 
“Mobile WiMAX already has commercial deployments, while LTE won’t be commercially available until late 2009,” reasoned the researcher, explaining why LTE has to lag behind WiMAX.
 
 However In-Stat believes WiMAX and LTE will take very different paths in the years to come.
 
WiMAX and LTE, both based on a modulation technique called Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing, are the two leading technologies likely to be used by wireless operators as they attempt to upgrade their cellular networks from 3G networks to 4G.
 
The research report titled, “The road to 4G: LTE and WiMAX lead the Way,” predicted almost equal fortunes for the wireless technology solutions. WiMAX, analysts say, will remain popular in places where wired broadband is impossible or too expensive.
 
“Most of the operators looking to deploy WiMAX come to it from the fixed network space. These operators are looking to use WiMAX as an enhanced DSL service. Enhanced DSL will combine both the fixed broadband service with some form of nomadic coverage,” says Daryl Schoolar, In-Stat analyst.
 
“Most of the early operators supporting LTE come from the mobile space. These operators want to use LTE to increase capacity and peak rates on their existing mobile networks,” Daryl added.
 
In-Stat says LTE will have 23.1 million subscriptions by 2013, growing from about 176 thousand in 2010. But by 2013, nearly 82 million mobile PCs with WiMAX will have been shipped, In-Stat said.
 
Last year, US operator Clearwire teamed up with Sprint and Nextel to build a nationwide WiMAX network. But LTE has won the heart of much larger carriers. Vodafone, world’s largest wireless operator by revenue, and its American joint venture Verizon Wireless are reportedly planning to use LTE as their next generation networks.
 
Recent research by In-Stat found the following: HSPA may turn into 802.16e WiMAX’s true competitor, with HSPA Evolved allowing WCDMA operators to delay deploying LTE.
 
Verizon is at the forefront with LTE, most operators will not deploy until 2011 or 2012.

Narayan Bhat is a contributing editor for MobilityTechzone. To read more of Narayan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek


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