updated 03:10 pm EDT, Fri June 15, 2007
ATT Considers LTE
AT&T is considering skipping Intel's WiMAX technology altogether in favor of continuing with refinements to existing cellular mobile Internet, according to carrier VP Chris Hill. The executive says that his company can't see the "value proposition" behind WiMAX, as it delivers virtually the same speed as upcoming cellular technology dubbed Long Term Evolution (LTE), also known as Super 3G. WiMAX would more likely see its way into AT&T's network to support the network rather than become the network itself, Hill says.
LTE is a direct replacement for AT&T's current 3G network, which uses the earlier HSDPA standard. HSDPA typically peaks at 3.6Mbps downloads but would easily be eclipsed by LTE, which would use as much as 25Mbps for downloads and 12.5Mbps for uploads if using the same spectrum. It would also dramatically reduce latency to near Wi-Fi levels and support more users for every cell tower.
WiMAX is closer to Wi-Fi in practice and operates separately from the regular cellphone network. Sprint recently began rolling out WiMAX trials and hopes to launch official service by next year. [via Wireless Week]