WiMAX is common in Europe and other parts of the world, but here in America, the 4G WiMAX networks are still relatively rare. Sprint and Clearwire are the only two carriers that have bet on WiMAX in America.
The two companies are slowly rolling WiMAX out to major cities around the country with more new cities coming online at a steady pace. All of the other major carriers will be using LTE technology and those networks are expected to begin coming online at the end of 2010 and in early 2011.
WiMAX is relatively new here in America, but in other countries it has been around longer and companies behind the format are looking forward to a new WiMAX specification dubbed WiMAX 2. The new WiMAX 2 format is built on 802.16m specifications and is a 4G service. The main benefit of the new service is increased speeds that will be up to 300Mbps. The new specification also has lower latency than current WiMAX and will offer a higher capacity for bandwidth consuming services like VoIP.
Industry leaders behind the new specification working to evolve the industry to WiMAX 2 include Alvarion, Beceem, GCT Semiconductor, Intel, Motorola, Samsung, Sequans, XRONet, ZTE and others. The companies are working on bringing equipment needed for providers to offer the faster speeds as well as consumer equipment taking advantage of WiMAX 2 to market. This consumer gear includes USB modems and mobile internet devices.
WiMAX providers are seeing major growth in some markets with consumers using much higher bandwidth than they did previously. Some people on WiMAX networks are consuming as much as 7-10GB of data monthly according to carriers.
“The wireless industry is convinced that the growing volume of data consumers are eating up is a bad thing,” said Mike Sievert, Chief Commercial Officer, Clearwire. “But for us, our spectrum position gives us tremendous capacity and the ability to meet the explosive demand for mobile broadband. Today our CLEAR mobile customers are using an average of more than 7GB of data per month on our network. And while other companies are considering how to curtail usage, we simply say to our customers, here’s the Internet: the world in the palm of your hand – enjoy it.”