AT&T To Skip WiMax For LTE? - InformationWeek

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6/15/2007
11:54 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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AT&T To Skip WiMax For LTE?

At the Wireless Communications Association conference this week, AT&T VP of government solutions for mobility Chris Hill said that AT&T is probably going to pick Long Term Evolution, or LTE, for its next-generation, high-speed network technology. Is WiMax out of the picture for AT&T, and how will enterprise users be affected?

At the Wireless Communications Association conference this week, AT&T VP of government solutions for mobility Chris Hill said that AT&T is probably going to pick Long Term Evolution, or LTE, for its next-generation, high-speed network technology. Is WiMax out of the picture for AT&T, and how will enterprise users be affected?Well, WiMax isn't quite dead on arrival. Mr. Hill also mentioned that AT&T is looking at potentially using WiMax for some backhaul duties, but didn't clarify which ones. He said, "LTE provides similar throughputs, so we're taking a wait-and-see approach to WiMax. We just don't see the value proposition for mobile WiMax."

LTE is the GSM Association's network technology beyond HSPA, which is part of AT&T's road map for the next 5 years. Still, the LTE standard hasn't been set. In fact, the first draft isn't due until September of this year. After the first draft comes out, it will need to be tweaked and revised before the standard is set and actual hardware can be produced. So, it will be years and years before LTE is a reality here in the United States.

In contrast, WiMax already is being deployed by Sprint as part of its next-generation network plans. With trial cities set to launch later this year, Sprint is going to be working with a number of electronics manufacturers, including handset vendors Nokia and Samsung, to create an ecosystem of devices that can access and use the network.

There is no word on the enterprise angle here. To date, existing WiMax services, such as Clearwire, provide last-mile, fixed access to small pockets here and there.

Obviously, including Mobile WiMax capabilities in smartphones, laptops, or UMPCs is a necessary step for enterprise adoption. After all, connectivity is king. The more ways enterprise users can effectively connect to their data, the more productive they will be.

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