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LTE vs. WiMAX: Trials underway for 4G battle in 2011

As 4G trials gear up, LTE seems to be taking center stage - but an analyst warns not to count out WiMAX just yet.
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive on

Next year is expected to be a big one for LTE, the 4G wireless technology that's gearing up for a widespread rollout by Verizon in the U.S. and DoCoMo in Japan, according to a report by firm ABI Research. But analyst Bhavya Khanna warns not to count out WiMAX as a competing technology just yet.

Khanna reports that 132 networks have reported trials or plans to launch LTE commercially this year, an increase over 2009. Verizon has also "hinted" at LTE handsets by mid-2011. There are actually more trials of WiMAX networks - 188 - underway today. And that number is only expected to grow in 2011. Notably, Clearwire in the U.S. continues to build out its network and add subscribers, with interest sparked by HTC's launch of the Evo 4G Android phone for Sprint. The research firm explains further:

The threat that WiMAX will face will come from TD-LTE, an alternative technology championed by China and Qualcomm that can operate on the same bandwidth as existing WiMAX networks. If this technology proves successful, it could see several WiMAX operators migrate to the LTE standard.

The firm also warns that, while the 4G battle plays out, 3G networks should not be ignored, noting that "technology upgrades such as HSPA+ for WCDMA networks are also proving popular, helping incumbents cope with demands for increasing speeds and bandwidth efficiency."

As of March, there were more than 41 network operators launching trials or commercial launches of HSPA+ networks, specifically T-Mobile in the United States and Vodafone in Turkey, the firm reported.

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