BARCELONA: The senior director of technology at the GSM Association has declared that LTE will win the battle as the next-generation mobile broadband technology, and that WiMax is on "life-support".
Dan Warren told V3.co.uk that the marketing of WiMax had concentrated on taking over markets where HSPA and LTE were in use or planned to be in use, but had failed to do so.
"The message around WiMax was that it would come in and take over. They were targeting LTE quite aggressively, but there are some 400 million HSPA connections globally and 17 million being added every month," he said.
"By comparison the most optimistic total for WiMax is 20 million globally, so we feel that WiMax is dead or on life support."
Warren claimed that WiMax does not allow worldwide roaming between networks, unlike LTE and HSPA, although he noted that Sprint in the US offers roaming in Jamaica and Taiwan.
However, Warren acknowledged that the growth of LTE, and HSPA speeds increasing to 42Mbit/s, means that users of mobile devices will not really care which service they use as long as the speeds are fast enough, particularly as cloud computing grows.
"With LTE and HSPA you can fall back from one to the other, and then on to 3G and 2G so you always have the best available coverage. End users will increasingly want the best connection as new applications enter the market," he said.
Warren added that LTE deployments may become fully realised across the world by 2020, and that mobile internet connections could rise to 160Mbit/s.
However, the UK will have to wait until the spectrum auctions in 2013 for LTE, and that the migration will be a slow process unless new, disruptive firms enter the market.
"In the UK you won't see speeds beyond HSPA before 2013, and then operators will watch each other to upgrade in alignment," he said.
"Or, if you have an operator like Three that is very aggressive on pricing that could drive operators, a big disruptive player will drive the market much faster than if it's just left to the mature market."
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