I was at an event yesterday organised by the UK's Mobile WiMAX Acceleration Group (MWAG). Unfortunately I had to leave early, but one thing really struck me:
Why does the WiMAX community keep touting LTE as "the competition"? It's perfectly clear to everyone in the entire mobile industry, that in 90% of cases (especially for mobile and portable devices like PCs) the game is about HSPA and HSPA+. Fair enough to talk about LTE in terms of long-term roadmaps (and no, WiMAX isn't "4G", either), but the fact of the matter is that HSPA is about now, and doing rather well. It works, it's in lots of places, and it's cheap. Yes, it may getting congested - but that's a different argument, and to win it you will need to acknowledge that it's where mobile broadband is today.
I'm still mystified as to how someone at the event managed to get up on stage and wax lyrical, with a straight face, about how his amazing trial WiMAX unit allowed him to conduct the amazing feat of using his PC when away from the office. Wow - I mean the 2 million people in the UK with 3G dongles would be astounded, I'm sure.
I can't work out whether this is marketing rhetoric, or simple delusion. Honestly, WiMAX marketing folk: drop the LTE rhetoric, you lose credibility every time you put up a slide-deck which references LTE before HSPA.
Mind you, on the other hand, the "opposition" isn't much better.
Attention GSMA folk: someone with a 3G SIM card in an HSPA featurephone is not a user of "mobile broadband" either. Just because they occasionally download a music track a bit faster, or glance at a news headline in a browser, doesn't make them a "broadband user", except in your attempt to generate PR-friendly headlines to make pointless comparisons with ADSL and cable. Counting 3G dongles and iPhones is fair enough, but we all know there's lots of unused HSPA capabilities in phones out there.