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The Road to Wireless 4G has Potholes

In 2008, according to the latest study by In-Stat, the road to wireless 4G became less complex with ultra-mobile broadband (UMB) displaced, narrowing the path to the two remaining technologies -- LTE and WiMAX.

Both 4G technologies, meaning those technologies that are expected to meet the requirements of IMT-Advanced, are far from being commercially deployed, the high-tech market research firm says.

Both LTE Advanced and 802.16m WiMAX are being specially crafted to offer 100Mbps mobile throughput and 1Gbps stationary throughput; these extremely high throughput capabilities are expected to be a critical part of the ITU's IMT-Advanced requirements.

"Mobile WiMAX effectively came on the scene in 2006 with South Korea's WiBro; the earliest commercial LTE deployment will be in 2009," says Gemma Tedesco, In-Stat analyst. "Overall, In-Stat expects that mobile WiMAX will ultimately outpace LTE over the next few years due to timing of network roll-outs."

The In-stat research covers the worldwide market for 4G wireless technology. It provides forecasts for global mobile WiMAX and LTE by product type. Analysis of the developing marketplace for these technologies, including deployment plans of mobile operators.

In-Stat's market study found the following:

- The success of the Sprint/Clearwire mobile WiMAX roll-out is expected to have a huge effect on whether or not large worldwide operators will roll out mobile WiMAX.

- Mobile WiMAX and LTE will represent only a miniscule portion of total 2G/3G/4G cellular subscriptions in 2013, with GSM/EDGE/GPRS expected to account for more than 55 percent of the total 4.8 billion subscriptions.

- HSPA may turn into 802.16e WiMAX's true competitor, and also may delay LTE roll-outs.

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