While Sprint and Clearwire have enjoyed a long lead in the 4G space with their WiMax technology, Verizon, AT&T, MetroPCS, Cellular South and the other carriers across the world that are using Long Term Evolution (LTE) over Interoperability Over Microwave Access (WiMAx) will dominate the 4G space by 2014.
Digitimes is reporting that we aren’t talking about just a few million subscribers, Digitimes is reporting that there will be 303.1 million LTE customers by 2014 to WiMax estimated 33.4 million in the same year.
“With WiMAX enjoying a two- to three-year head start in next-generation network deployments, it presently enjoys a major advantage in market share in the 4G segment,” said Francis Sideco, principal analyst for wireless research at IHS. “However, with LTE supported by most of the leading wireless operators worldwide, it will rise to surpass WiMAX in 2012 and then dominate worldwide during the following years.”
The International Telecommunications Union or ITU, a division of the United Nations, just recently changed their 4G specification to include both WiMax and LTE despite 3 of the 4 US carriers already calling their technology 4G.
What does this mean for Clearwire and Sprint. Sprint announced earlier today that they would report more on their 4G strategy later, while yesterday Clearwire said they were reducing the size of their retail operation to save money and cut costs.
Read More After The Break
LTE is a sim based technology where its actually much easier for companies like AT&T and T-Mobile to change over to LTE than it is for CDMA carriers like Verizon or Sprint. Verizon has already made that commitment and started rolling out their LTE network in the United States. With that network in place there are lots of reports of end users having a problem with the hand off from 3g to 4g and back, with GSM carriers and HSPA+ in place the transition will be seamless for AT&T and T-Mobile.
AT&T has announced a 2 phase 4G plan where they have built out and began rolling out HSPA+ across the country. Once that network build out is complete they will begin their conversion to LTE which will seem virtually seamless. At the AT&T Developer Summit in Las Vegas last month AT&T projected that their LTE rollout will begin during the summer. The Samsung Infuse 4G is expected to be the first 4G/LTE phone on AT&T.
Source: Digitimes and TDG