More strong words (note the last part on the higher capacity/bandwith of Wimax vs LTE):
WiMAX 4G Is Ahead of Verizon's LTE, Sprint Says
From what Verizon has said this week about its plans to build out a new wireless network based on Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology, its 4G technology appears to be on a collision course with the WiMAX technology pushed by Clearwire and Sprint.
First and foremost, the wireless carrier's investment in LTE technology is focused on the embedding of LTE technology in a wide range of consumer devices. In this respect, Verizon appears to be following the same playbook that Sprint has been laying out for the past six months, noted Sprint Vice President Todd Rowley, who heads the company's 4G unit.
"At one level it's a validation" of Sprint's strategy to have it "being endorsed by our competitors," Rowley said.
A Data Growth Driver
During his presentation at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, Verizon Wireless Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Dick Lynch noted that data usage on cellular networks only really started to take off when 3G handsets went mainstream. Going forward, Lynch sees videoconferencing, advanced gaming, HDTV, 3-D TV, virtualization and on-demand "anything" as the big drivers for LTE data growth.
The 4G products and services now being offered by Clearwire and Sprint feature download speeds of two to four Mbps, which is comparatively fast with respect to any cellular technology currently available. However, LTE has the potential to make data downloads up to 10 times faster, opening the door for a wider range of devices -- including cameras, camcorders, navigation products, and smart meters -- with automatic upload capabilities.
On the other hand, WiMAX is already well on its way to becoming embedded in a large number of laptops, which means there's no reason why Sprint's technology could not be used for the same purpose in other devices right now, Rowley said. "We talked about this at our tech summit in 2006," Rowley said. "What we need to do is work with the camera manufacturers to do that, but the transport capacity is already there."
Though Verizon isn't saying what LTE speeds it expects to offer, recent test trials demonstrate that its technology is capable of delivering downloads speeds upward of 40 Mbps. But Sprint spokesperson John Polivka noted that speed isn't the only issue.
"The capacity over which people will be pushing data from some of these new devices should not be overlooked," he said. "It's about the volumes of data and not just the speed."
WiMAX has 120 MHz of spectrum available per market with speeds currently based on 10-MHz channels, which puts Clearwire in a good position to expand channel capacity as the marketplace dictates, Rowley said. "So we are in a much stronger position than our competitors to deliver high-bandwidth, high-capacity applications long run," he added.
Verizon doesn't expect LTE phones to be generally available until 2011, which presents no problem because the company's 3G network will be running into the next decade. By contrast, Sprint could have a WiMAX-capable multi-band handset available as early as mid-2010, Rowley said.
"We have initiated an effort to develop a dual-mode or tri-mode handset that will incorporate 3G voice and data along with an optimization that works with our 4G capabilities," Rowley said. "We'll know more as we proceed, but we think that we should be in a position to deliver it in the first half of next year."
Sprint-CLWR's hype that every mass market consumer device, video camera, appliance would be connected with WiMAX was nonsense. Its already obvious that no wireless carrier is going to allow true unlimited 4G data service at any price affordable to the mass market. Therefore, if consumers use wireless to offload digital video files and other data etc, they will continue to prefer fre-to-use unlicensed technology and save their metro-area wireless allocation for when they really need it.
Even if the WiMAX and LTE crowd deploy femtocells to every home in Amercia the service will still not be as free as Wi-Fi.
Just because the LTE crowd sadly joins the WiMAX camp in overhyping their flavor of wireless doesn't mean its a validation of either.