The Battle for Wireless Mobile Internet

The short story about WiMAX vs. LTE battle

Published: Jul 28, 2010 06:21:08 AM IST
Updated: Jul 27, 2010 04:31:14 PM IST

WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) and LTE (Long Term Evolution) have been at war for the last four or five years to become the world’s de facto pre-4G wireless standard. WiMAX had a head start, notching up wins even as LTE was still in infancy. But then in 2009, its plans stalled as mobile operators switched to LTE. India is the market that will determine the final outcome of this war. The choice of the winners of India’s broadband wireless auctions will become the default standard. A look the journey so far...

mg_31202_wimax_280x210.jpgWIMAX ADVANCES (2004-09)
USA: Arguably the single most important market for making, or breaking, any new technology format. Intel Capital invests $600 million in Clearwire.

Russia:  With over $300 million in funding, Yota makes one of WiMAX’s biggest bets around the world.

Australia: Unwired Australia spends $110 million to acquire startup spectrum to begin wireless broadband services.

WIMAX STALLS (2008-09)
Brazil: Neovia and Embratel face intense regulatory pressure due to lobbying by mobile operators and, surprise, surprise, Qualcomm/Ericsson.

UK: Regulators do not allow mobile WiMAX for a long time, and when they finally do in December 2009, it is perhaps too late.

Pakistan: WiMAX notches up more than 100,000 subscribers in Pakistan, making it one of the largest markets around the world

LTE D-DAY (DEC 2009- )
USA: Clearwire says it will consider LTE for future deployments; Verizon and MetroPCS may launch LTE network towards end 2010

Russia: Yota dumps WiMAX and spends $100 million to build out an LTE network

India: India’s “4G” auctions reportedly favour LTE

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(This story appears in the 30 July, 2010 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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