Is WiMAX Really The Next Great (Wireless) Thing?

Wireless broadband services will dominate mobile communications markets in the years to come. The "science-fiction" element of video telephones from years past is quickly becoming a reality, and now customers not only want the service, but also want the highest-quality images and voice service. Delivering such services requires bandwidth and sophisticated modulation schemes, and WiMAX has both.

There are no shortages in the number or projections for the future of WiMAX. Research firms such as Maravedis (, for example, point to gaudy numbers in support of market expectations for WiMAX (see the story on their CEO below). At the same time, developers of Third Generation Partnership Program (3GPP) Long Term Evolution (LTE) systems also feel that they have the technology to support a myriad of broadband wireless services.

Most likely, both approaches, LTE and WiMAX, will flourish, since communications markets have shown a propensity for supporting multiple standards. Maravedis reports 3 billion mobile subscribers worldwide at the end of 2007, with 4 billion expected by 2011. For that many customers, several broadband wireless solutions may be needed.

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