About a month ago we wrote about Packet One Networks, a WiMAX operator in Malaysia that’s been operational for several years and has over 280,000 customers, announcing that they’re going to be transitioning to LTE; we wondered how much longer WiMAX would have left to live. Today we’re finding out that Taiwan’s Global Mobile, who has also been operational for a few years, but does not list how many customers they have, will be dumping WiMAX for LTE later this year. Their reason? LTE has “gained better momentum than WiMAX” and looks to be the “dominant” 4G standard going forward.
So where exactly does this leave Clearwire? If the Europeans and the Asians don’t want to support WiMAX, and Intel, who practically invented the technology, went ahead and purchased Infineon’s Wireless Unit so they could include LTE support in future versions of their wireless chipsets, then how much longer are we going to have to wait for an official announcement from Sprint saying that they’ve decided, with the support of their partners, that Clearwire will transition away from WiMAX and towards LTE? Clearwire hasn’t exactly been keeping it a secret that they’ve been testing LTE equipment, and the speed tests they’ve shared with the public, with download speeds over 90 Mbps, make us wonder why they’re taking their sweet time at rolling out the “dominant” 4G standard. ABI Research has even predicted that they’ll be around 16 million people using LTE by the end of this year alone.
Back to Global Mobile, this isn’t the first time they’ve been in the news. Back in January Sprint announced that customers traveling to Taiwan will be able to roam on Global Mobile’s network. Looks like they’ll only have a few more months to do that, then they’ll be out of luck, trying to find an open access point or paying too much for hotel WiFi.