ITU picks WiMAX for 3G standard

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has accepted the IEEE 802.16e mobile WiMAX standard as a 3G standard. The WiMAX Forum has been pushing for this status all year and will allow WiMAX deployments to occupy globally allocated frequency bands and complement or compete with other 3G technologies as well as give operators, especially in smaller countries, more comfort in deploying WiMAX since it is now endorsed by the ITU.

The agreement was reached in an ITU meeting held late Thursday. Negotiators reportedly had a tough time hammering out the details as there were a number of objections to the inclusion of WiMAX as a 3G standard.

"This is a very special and unique milestone for WiMAX technology," said Ron Resnick, president of the WiMAX Forum. "This is the first time that a new air interface has been added to the IMT-2000 set of standards since the original technologies were selected nearly a decade ago. WiMAX technology currently has the potential to reach 2.7 billion people. And today's announcement expands the reach to a significantly larger global population."

The question is: Can Sprint keep calling its WiMAX network 4G technology?

For more about the ITU's acceptance of WiMAX as a 3G technology:
- read this release
- check out this article from