More Vaporware vs. Realware

A recent study by Datacomm Research and Rysavvy concluded that WiMAX will be the long-term winner over 3G, based on the fact that OFDM (used in WiMAX) is better, and that MIMO (not used in WiMAX) is better. This is another case of Techdirt’s worst pet peeve: comparing vaporware against a real technology. In this particular case, the authors have argued that the non-existent, unproven WiMAX will be better than 3G because of MIMO (I explain MIMO in the comment section). But the real kicker is that the current version of WiMAX vaporware does not even have MIMO. This is vaporware exponentially squared! Worse, MIMO could just as easily be applied to 3G technologies, so it is hardly a distinguishing feature of WiMAX. The report cites a “panel of experts” as sources, yet it seems the expertise was largely supplied from the pro-WiMAX camp. The article also states “Sprint recently said it would trial and probably deploy WiMAX even though it also is deploying a 3G 1xEV-DO network.” Sure, but did Sprint say where they would be deploying WiMAX? Of course a landline carrier or a cellular carrier would consider WiMAX for point-to-point and backhaul –that’s what WiMAX was designed to do. However, Sprint has made no claim that they would use WiMAX on the public edge of their network, that is, the one that connects subscriber’s phones and modems. Furthermore, the carriers have a whole lot of momentum toward 3G technologies which they will not abandon lightly. The EU carriers spent billions on the spectrum, and their regulators will NOT allow them to deploy anything but 3G technology in those frequencies. These facts seem to have been missed in the report. This whole MobilePipeline article, and the report it describes, seem to be part of a whitewash effort to gloss over the facts and make WiMAX seem better than it is.

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