A timely and unique debate on the growing battle between two dominant global visions of Fourth Generation wireless technology – WiMAX and Long Term Evolution (LTE) – will be held next week at WCA 2008, the annual convention of the Wireless Communications Association International (WCA).
Following the record-breaking $19 B 700 MHz auction, the recent addition of LTE advocates Verizon, AT&T and Ericsson to WCA’s speaking program will provide authoritative perspectives to the debate. The discussion will also include a strong presence by WiMAX advocates Sprint Nextel and Clearwire, each of which last week enhanced their convention presence by confirming major new speakers and demonstrations.
“Advocates of both WiMAX and LTE are seeking to achieve critical momentum in the industry and thought-leader commentaries in their paths to a next generation of advanced wireless services,” said WCA president Andrew Kreig. “WCA’s convention from April 21-23 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel is the first major event where bidders in the 700 MHz auction can speak following expiration of the FCC’s anti-collusion rules this month.”
WCA’s 700 MHz speaker program April 22 includes alternative perspectives, such as that of open access advocate Google. Another is Nsight Telservices, which currently serves as head of the Rural Cellular Association, which has argued that FCC auction rules were unfair. Beyond questions of license ownership, a critical dimension for the industry and its financiers is the momentum of WiMAX, whose supporters have a head start in time-to-market, versus that of LTE, whose advocates point to more than two billion current cellphone users and their suppliers (many of whom are also WiMAX advocates).