Mobile Future

Wi-Max “and” LTE

I’m still digesting a lot of conversations that occurred last week at the WCA conference. One discussion that would not die was which 4G technology is better for consumers: Wi-Max or LTE.

Wi-Max stands for “worldwide interoperability for microwave access” and is the 4G technology choice to provide wireless broadband for SprintNextel and Clearwire. LTE stands for “Long Term Evolution” and is the 4G technology choice for Verizon Wireless and at&t. Both technologies utilize OFDMA but will utilize different spectrum to deliver mobile high-speed broadband.

In any case, these tired conversations reminded me of the CDMA versus GSM wars that took place earlier this decade. The results of those conversations were nothing but hot air. Ultimately, LTE is not a competing technology and consumers really do not care.

Consumers demand more from wireless service providers these days. Making calls and text messaging isn’t going to cut it anymore. We want quick and easy access to the Internet. We want devices that utilize hotspots. We want to watch videos, listen to music and know where our friends are. Some of us want to watch mobile TV or do our own personal mobile broadcasting. We don’t care if we get wireless broadband via 3G with HSDPA or EVDO or 4G via LTE or Wi-Max. We just want it to work.

I hope that engineers and company representatives stop selling their respective technologies and lead by listening to consumers. By listening, they will mitigate churn and be on the path to providing folks what they want and where they want it. Ultimately, it is not about Wi-Max “or” LTE but Wi-Max “and” LTE delivering the wireless broadband experience we all imagine…