Clearly, a number of service providers and equipment vendors already have their stake in the ground with regards to either technology, having taken a stance on way or the other. Some vendors, however, like Alcatel-Lucent, recognize that a market exists for each and, rather than opting for one over the other, have opted to embrace both opportunities.
Certainly, Alcatel-Lucent's big splash in LTE, of course, came back in February, when Verizon named it one of a select group primary network vendors for its LTE rollout in the U.S. Alcatel-Lucent followed that up with the introduction of a new software module to support network operators' rapid deployment of LTE technologies.
At the time, Paul Larbey, head of Next Generation Mobile Access activities for Alcatel-Lucent, noted that, "The introduction of this LTE software offering highlights our focus on bringing the latest innovations to market to help mobile operators give their customers a superior mobile broadband experience."
But, the company has balanced its efforts in LTE with a commitment to WiMAX, which, despite the arguments of many, currently has the edge, based on existing deployments. As for Alcatel-Lucent's place in the market, Infonetics, earlier this year, named it among the top mobile WiMAX vendors.
"Rev-e [802.12e, the current version of the WiMAX standard] is the best wireless broadband technology currently available, and is ideally suited to address the Enhanced Wireless DSL market segment which includes data-centric mobility usage on netbooks and mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), as well as residential and nomadic PC use," according to Mike Iandolo, President of the Wireless Networks Division for Alcatel-Lucent.
Alcatel-Lucent has already announced a number of WiMAX contracts -- 36 deployments in total, of which 15 are already in service, which it says is more than any competing infrastructure vendor. The latest is a deal with GDS in Lebanon, bringing the total paying user base of its WiMAX technology to more than 100,000 -- a figure it says is expected to grow rapidly.
At this week's WiMAX Forum Global Congress in Amsterdam, it reaffirmed its commitment to the technology, leveraging one of its live deployments (with Worldmax) to demonstrate downlink speeds up to 16Mbps, which is half of what the network is expected to deliver before the end of the year.
In driving the growth of WiMAX, and next generation wireless networking, in general, Alcatel-Lucent doesn't stop with selling the equipment. Rather, it provides its customers a full deployment partner, providing a full set of end-to-end deployment services, including network design, installation, integration and optimization, network operation, all the way to continued customer care and integrated billing services.
Now that it has this week focused on its WiMAX strategy, Alcatel-Lucent is shifting its focus to next week's Mobile 2012 Virtual Tradeshow, where it will highlight its LTE strategy, which, aside from offering an alternative technology to WiMAX, comes with equal support for its customers from planning through deployment and beyond.
So, while it's clear that various industry pundits and participants are staunchly in one corner or the other, network operators faced with the decision as to which 4G technology to choose can at least sleep peacefully, knowing that, in Alcatel-Lucent, they have a willing -- and more than capable -- partner whichever path they choose.