Wait a minute. The common wisdom in the wireless world is that WiMAX lost the war to LTE. But with the news that the standard has passed 20 million subscribers, is it time to rethink that premise? The answer is that in many cases incumbent providers have opted for LTE as their 4G standard of choice and as a result, WiMAX is going to remain somewhat nichy. Even 20 million users is not a tremendous amount when you consider the billions of users predicted to eventually use LTE networks.
Although when it comes to tech, predicting the future is never easy, it seems that WiMAX is still going to occupy a small segment of the wireless market.
Beyond what I have already written, the challenge with any wireless standard has to do with the chicken-and-egg nature of devices versus network reach. In other words, does a manufacturer even want to have their device work with WiMAX if the addressable market is a small number in the tens of millions?
So really, although the news is somewhat good for WiMAX – the wireless standard needs to do better to be taken seriously by device manufacturers.
Really, the only way I see WiMAX overtaking LTE is if Apple decides to roll out a device exclusively on WiMAX and LTE. And I don’t see a business case for such a scenario.