Making sense of 4G: WiMAX, LTE or HSPA+

Sue Marek
As CTIA Wireless 2011 beckons, the FierceWireless team is busy putting the final touches on our Path to 4G conference, which takes place March 22 in Orlando, Fla.  

This is the fourth year we have co-located our conference at CTIA, and this year's lineup of speakers looks incredibly strong. If you are interested in hearing from all the major operators about their 4G plans, then this is a must-attend event for you. 

The Path to 4G event certainly has evolved. When we first launched the event in 2008, the content of the conference centered on the definition of 4G as well as the potential applications that would be enabled by 4G networks. Fast forward four years, and now we not only have real 4G networks deployed in the U.S., but we also have devices and applications enabled by this next generation of mobile broadband technology.

We'll start off the event with a fireside chat with Verizon Wireless' new CTO, David Small. This is Small's first public appearance since being promoted into this position in December 2010. Small replaces Tony Melone, who was promoted to CTO of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ). I expect Small to give an update on the company's LTE progress and address some of the questions people have about LTE devices and their backwards compatibility to EV-DO, as well as Verizon's aggressive push toward Voice over LTE.

T-Mobile USA stirred up the 4G pot last year when the company started marketing its HSPA+ network as 4G because it offers 4G-like speeds. Before T-Mobile's clever marketing maneuver, the company was often viewed as the weak player in the race to next-generation networks such as LTE or mobile WiMAX. T-Mobile's CEO Neville Ray will join me onstage for our mid-day keynote fireside chat. Ray likely will provide an update on the company's HSPA+ network, its device strategy and its plans to upgrade to HSPA+ 84. In addition, I will ask him about the company's spectrum position, its turnaround plans and more. 

Finally, we will end the day with a keynote presentation from Kris Rinne, senior vice president of architecture and planning at AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T). Rinne is always a crowd favorite at our Path to 4G event. She likely will talk about the company's HSPA+ deployment, its backhaul upgrades and its move to LTE, which is happening later this year.

In between these keynote sessions, look for panels featuring speakers from Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and more. Don't miss the chance to interact with the top wireless executives in the 4G market. To see the entire agenda and register for the event, click here. I look forward to seeing you there on March 22. --Sue