Things aren’t looking so good for our friend WiMAX. Sure, there are the successful rollouts from Sprint and Clearwire in Baltimore and Portland, but that’s about it in the U.S. Other carriers such as AT&T and Verizon have committed themselves to LTE rather than LTE for 4G connections. Nokia, the world’s largest cell phone maker, is following and abandoning WiMAX for LTE going forward.
A big part of Nokia’s adoption of LTE is that it is more backward-compatible with 3G technology. The fact that Verizon is already beginning testing of LTE this year, with a planned rollout by next year doesn’t hurt, either. Those trials so far show download speeds of 50Mbps to 60 Mbps, though that could decrease with more people using the network at the same time.
The dropping of WiMAX could be very depressing to quite a few people. It’s been successfully rolled out in several European cities so far, while LTE is just getting started with widespread testing. WiMAX is also based on open standards that anyone can theoretically use in any device. LTE on the other hand is proprietary, and not nearly as open. Sprint fans might run into some trouble as well. If Sprint and Clearwire are the only ones supporting WiMAX, even with the large sums of money the received from backers such as Google, Intel and Comcast, it might not turn out all that well in the end. Hopefully the two standards can both be used, if only to have an open standards option to the cloed-off LTE