WiMAX has gone through an overhype stage and now is like so many other technologies - VoIP included, at a stage where the markets are trying to figure out where the opportunities lie. Indeed, trying to determine what is real and what is hype is difficult to do and to cut through the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) I spent time at WiMAX World in Chicago to learn more from the movers and shakers in the space.
I came armed with questions about deployments and the threat of LTE - the evolutionary technology theoretically enabling 2-3G operators to ignore WiMAX. In the last six months there have been numerous articles and technical white papers written about whether WiMAX is necessary.
To cut to the chase, I spoke with VP Chair, Marketing Working Group of the WiMAX Forum, Dr. Mo Shakouri who explained that the transition to LTE is more than a simple software upgrade as carriers need to go from CDMA to OFDM - which obviously requires hardware. They believe there is a strong marketing campaign being waged by mobile operators and some hardware providers who want to sow FUD in the WiMAX market.
In order to combat the threat from LTE the WiMAX Forum is feverishly working with companies to develop lower cost CPE devices as carrier profitability is tied to device cost.