Unless you live in one of a handful of markets in the continental US, there's a chance you may not have heard of WiMAX. Even more likely is the chance that you don't have access to it. WiMAX, or 4G as it has been labeled, is one of a few technologies being marketed as the fourth generation of wireless standards (read: high speed data transfer to and from your cell phone) in the US and elsewhere.
Right now Sprint and Clear (of which Sprint owns 51%) are the major players in the 4G game, though Verizon is catching up with 35 markets projected to receive LTE (4G) by the end of this year. According to Phandroid, WiMAX in its current state "barely outperforms earlier 3G standards," which means that when LTE catches up (which it inevitably will) WiMAX is at risk of being overrun.
It's no coincidence, given that WiMAX is not equipped to compete with LTE, that proponents of WiMAX2 such as Intel, Motorola and Samsung among others, have come together to form a coalition called the WiMAX2 Collaboration Initiative. According to Business Wire, "The group will work closely with the WiMAX Forum to accelerate the implementation of interoperable system profiles for WiMAX2 equipment and devices with the goal of improving the economics of mobile broadband," which basically means they are working toward making sure the WiMAX technology stays competitive with LTE.
Interestingly, as Engadget points out, among the list of 10 or so supporters, Sprint and Clearwire's names are nowhere to be found. It could have something to do with the fact that CEO Dan Hesse implied--last month at CTIA - that Sprint would be keeping their options open in terms of LTE, and that WiMAX took care of their need to be the first with 4G speeds.
Which do you prefer, WiMAX or LTE? Or does it make a difference to you? Let us know below.