Feeds

Second biggest WiMAX network switches to LTE

There's just no Nuf in WiMAX any more

The Power of One Infographic

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. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
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
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.