At the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Sprint representative David Owens announced that the company would no longer be releasing WiMAX phones and instead will be focusing its attention on LTE.
Sprint was previously the only US carrier to place its full support behind WiMAX, with its main competitors supporting LTE from an early date. With the increasing likelihood of LTE becoming the 4G standard instead of WiMAX, the company sees little point in continuing to be the lone voice supporting the wireless technology.
The decision to support LTE instead of WiMAX means that Sprint is now able to release LTE enabled phones such as the Galaxy Nexus to place the company in a better position to compete against Verizon and others.
So does Sprint’s decision mark the end of WiMAX on smartphones? The United States is one of the few countries where 4G is already operational, and the majority of 4G networks in the country are LTE. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, are currently conducting LTE trials with plans to implement the technology in the next couple of years.
Likewise, the world’s most popular phone, the iPhone, has yet to adopt 4G due to its experimental status. If 4G is going to make an appearance on the iPhone 5, which will be launched later in 2012, it is likely that Apple will choose the more established LTE technology and will not opt for a WiMAX version.
Even though LTE now has the upper hand, Sprint was the first company to launch a 4G smartphone with the HTC EVO 4G back in 2010. Since then, a number of higher profile LTE devices have scuppered Sprint’s ambitions of nationwide WiMAX adoption.
When the world was first introduced to the blistering speeds of 4G data connections there was a lot of debate about which technology would establish itself as the industry standard. It now seems clear that with all US carriers placing their support behind LTE, and 4G development projects in other countries favoring LTE, WiMAX is destined to be swept to the side in the smartphone industry.
This guest post was written by Simon Drew of Best Mobile Contracts, the UK’s number one mobile phone comparison website.