Analyst: WiMAX on the slide, but LTE has issues

The war between WiMAX and LTE to determine the technology leader of mobile broadband communications is over, according to Mike Bryant, an analyst with market research company Future Horizons.

Bryant believes that WiMAX is on the slide as evidenced by operators in the UK and the Netherlands closing their services, while U.S. operators are considering re-applying their spectrum for use with LTE.

While WiMAX might have been one of the worst investments ever made by Intel, Bryant doesn't believe that LTE is not without its challenges. "Despite all the hype for LTE, 4G, WiMAX, femtocells and so on, the vast majority of data traffic is handled by standard 2G/3G base stations with GPRS or EDGE enhancements," said Bryant.

Of key interest to operators is the issue of 3G base stations being capable of supporting around 4,000 users, whereas the smaller LTE cell can only handle approximately 600 customers.

This limitation, according to Bryant, means additional cell sites have to be acquired and, in addition, placing LTE equipment on the tops of tall buildings may not provide street-level coverage as is typical for 3G base stations. Article