4G is ON!!
Seriously, I think we're in the process of watching VHS get the jump on Betamax--and no one is even saying that LTE (aka Long-Term Evolution, a stupid name if there ever was one) is a superior technology. In other words, no one will miss it (unless you count the carriers planning to adopt LTE).
Clearwire is continuing its build-out of a national 4G broadband network with a Portland, Ore. launch.
Intel's Chairman Craig Barrett trash-talks that "what we're comparing is something that is here today to something [LTE] that will be here some time in the future."
Meanwhile, President-elect Barack Obama plans to ask Congress to delay the digital TV switch-over, which may have a crippling domino effect on LTE.
Even LTE supporters admit that WiMAX has been ahead all along, but now that it has gotten out of its own way, it looks like it's going to finally enjoy the fruits of that head start.
The service is still in its infancy, and spotty service will be problematic for now. Telecommunications Online notes that analysts from Current Analysis are worried about interopability:
But like any network (think about the first few fax machines), its power will grow exponentially as adoption increases, so what looks like a small ripple today will shortly seem like the inexorable march of the Mongol armies.
And as Stacy Higginbotham notes, there isn't much that separates WiMAX from LTE when it comes to quality or end-user satisfaction.
Better yet for the likes of Intel, Sprint and other WiMAX sponsors, Obama's infrastructure stimulus is likely to favor WiMAX simply because it's already there. Tom Foremski notes that Intel is already lobbying the Obama Administration.
And Om Malik is reporting that a rural WiMAX operator has raised "another"$100 million. Who says the capital markets are frozen?