Feeds

Second biggest WiMAX network switches to LTE

There's just no Nuf in WiMAX any more

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

Russia's Yota network, which connects 300,000 people over WiMAX technology, is switching to LTE as the tide firmly turns in favour of the latter technology.

Back in 2008 Yota (also known as "Nuf", which is "Fun" backwards, see?) deployed the world's first WiMAX handset, and since then has been busy signing up customers to its 10Mb/sec mobile internet service - with subscriptions hitting 300,000 across the five cites covered. But now the company says the future is in Long Term Evolution (LTE) and it's going to spend $2bn migrating its network away from its WiMAX roots to the telephony standard.

LTE is favoured by existing mobile operators around the world, but the WiMAX standard was completed first. So newcomers and early adopters flocked to the standard which managed to get itself designated as an official "4G" technology in the face of fierce objections.

While technical arguments rage, it's Intel's ownership of WiMAX which has driven it forward so fast, while the amount of intellectual property invested in LTE by everyone else meant it would always be an uphill battle. Intel fought hard to make WiMAX sound like it was Wi-Fi, and managed to convince some that this was a fight between big companies and little people - as demonstrated by some surprisingly ill-informed and emotional diatribes.

Unfortunately for WiMAX even Intel's deep pockets couldn't push the standard into telcos who repeatedly blocked recognition of the standard and presented legal delaying actions when Ofcom tried to sell off WiMAX-friendly radio spectrum in the UK.

Those delays provided time to get the LTE specification in order, and now we have the first commercial LTE network. That means the time advantage has been completely eroded, so the motivation for running WiMAX networks is now largely the already committed infrastructure and installed customer kit (handsets and modems).

For Yota that's not as bad as it sounds - Daily Wireless points out that the Samsung-supplied base stations Yota has deployed are cross-technology. They can support both FDD-LTE and TD-LTE, the latter being the flavour of LTE most suited to the radio spectrum Yota owns, so in many cases it'll be a software upgrade.

The new LTE network will start in Kazan, Novosibirsk and Samara, with Moscow and St. Petersburg to follow by the end of next year. The 15 cities previously scheduled for WiMAX deployment will go straight to LTE.

All of which puts the American Clearwire operation in the unenviable position of standing alone in running a WiMAX network with hundreds of thousands of customers. Clearwire has already said it sees LTE in its future; but unlike Yota, Clearwire has competitors deploying their own LTE networks, so WiMAX could be something of a differentiator.

Even if Clearwire hangs onto its WiMAX network for a while, and WiMAX continues to be used for fixed broadband in some markets, the future of mobility is LTE and Yota's decision only underlines that fact. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.