Does The GSMA's Endorsement Of LTE Mean WiMax Is Dead? - InformationWeek

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Commentary
11/16/2007
01:52 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
Commentary
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Does The GSMA's Endorsement Of LTE Mean WiMax Is Dead?

It's now official, the GSM Association has given its approval to 3GPP Long-Term Evolution (LTE) as the fourth-generation (4G) technology for GSM. Is this a sign that WiMax is toast?

It's now official, the GSM Association has given its approval to 3GPP Long-Term Evolution (LTE) as the fourth-generation (4G) technology for GSM. Is this a sign that WiMax is toast?There is a growing perception that WiMax is in big trouble. Much of this WiMax skepticism was fueled by the dissolution of Sprint's WiMax marriage with Clearwire last week. As my colleague Rob Preston pointed out, this can't be good for WiMax's future.

I remember attending wireless trade shows two years ago where everyone claimed that WiMax would be 4G. At the time, it seemed almost certain. Intel had put together a formidable-looking global ecosystem and carriers were seriously eyeing the technology. Then, Sprint, a major U.S. telecom, signed up for the WiMax party, and things looked almost inevitable.

Flashforward two years latter, those predictions look increasingly irrelevant. Sprint is now crouching its committments to WiMax in vague "legalese" and Clearwire is out in the cold. And what about the rest of those carriers who looked so hot to trot for mobile WiMax Where are they now?

As I pointed out last week, WiMax may need Google's help if its going to survive. But that would mean that Google would have to get into the service provider game.

Despite the analysts and industry insiders who claim Google will not become a carrier, Google will likely participate in the upcoming spectrum auction, so who knows, maybe Google will save WiMax.

What do you think? Is WiMax now dead? Or does it still have a fighting chance, even as rival technologies like LTE emerge as legitimate paths for 4G?

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