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TECHNOLOGY TRACKER: LTE and WiMAX to slug it out for 4G dominance

26th October 2008 - 01:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Though WiMAX and the LTE (Long Term Evolution) development of GSM cellular will probably come to dominate fourth-generation (4G) mobile wireless broadband services for consumers, earlier technologies like EDGE and GPRS still have years of life left in them.

That’s the conclusion of a new report from Arizona-based consultancy In-Stat. “Mobile WiMAX effectively came on the scene in 2006 with South Korea’s WiBro,” says In-Stat analyst Gemma Tedesco. “The first commercial LTE deployment will be next year, and we expect mobile WiMAX to outpace LTE over the next few years due to the timing of network roll-outs.”

LTE and 802.16m WiMAX promise data throughputs of 100Mbbit/sec to handheld devices and an extraordinary 1Gbit/sec in fixed environments. But The Road to 4G: LTE and WiMAX Lead the Way Worldwide suggests that even by 2013 the two technologies will continue to account for the smaller proportion of global personal mobile communication subscriptions, with EDGE, GPRS and other current standards supporting more than 55 per cent of the 4.8 billion total.

The report points to a number of uncertainties that could affect this picture. It says that the readiness of telecoms operators to adopt mobile WiMAX will depend to a large degree on the success of the Sprint/Clearwire Xohm service now being introduced in the USA.
 
And there is a possibility that an intermediate stage in the GSM evolution – High-Speed Packet Access,  HSPA - may prove to be the primary competition for WiMAX, leading to a delay in LTE roll-outs.

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