On a global basis, LTE will dominate WiMAX; the only question is when, according to a report by Visant Strategies.
The answer seems to be sometime after 2015 because in many cases, wireless mobile operators across the globe will implement HSPA+ before transitioning fully to LTE the second half of this decade.
"HSPA+ is expected to be the dominant form of mobile broadband Internet for the next five to 10 years, especially since LTE-oriented spectrum is being slowly released throughout the world," said Andy Fuertes of Visant. "Carriers will need to deploy LTE to remain competitive in many cases, but today, HSPA+ is an attractive choice to solve the smartphone capacity crunch many operators face due to its relatively cheaper investment."
According to "3.5G and 4G 2010: The Move to Worldwide Mobile Broadband," LTE deployments will gain momentum in 2014, although some major carriers will have deployed what Visant Strategies says will be the consensus 4G winner by then.
"By 2015, the 3.5G/4G subscriber distribution will consist of HSPA+ with over half of all 3.5G and 4G subs, LTE with about one-third, and mobile WiMAX accounting for close to one-tenth of all 3.5G and 4G subs worldwide," said Larry Swasey of Visant.
WiMAX remains strong as a 3.5 GHz fixed/portable platform, but a lack of support from major carriers is resulting in a minimal role in the mobile wireless market, the report finds. HSPA+ and LTE may be used in traditional 3.5 GHz bands over the long term.
For service providers with fixed networks, that represents a bit of an opportunity: "Backhaul in all of the advanced wireless networks needs to be beefed up, as well, in order to take real advantage of 3.5G and 4G,” Swasey added.
The report includes annual shipments and revenues through 2015 for LTE, WiMAX and HSPA+ handset/user devices, femtocells and base stations, with subscribers and revenues given as well. 3.5G/4G users by region, device shipments and revenues, as well as base station shipments, deployments and revenues, are also given through 2015.