Verizon says no to Clearwire proposal to merge WiMAX, LTE

LAS VEGAS, NEV. — CTIA — Clearwire CEO Bill Morrow used a keynote appearance here Wednesday to extend a sort of olive branch to proponents of competing 4G radio technologies, saying that the industry and end-users would be better off if somehow WiMAX and LTE could merge together to produce a single standard sometime in the future.

(UPDATE: According to Verizon Wireless EVP and CTO Tony Melone, it ain’t gonna happen. Quotes below.)

“Hopefully at some point in the future we’ll all be using the same technology,” Morrow told CTIA’s big cheese Steve Largent, who was “interviewing” Morrow in the classic fireside-chat format. While both Morrow and his business partner in WiMAX Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said Wednesday morning that they expect Long Term Evolution to eventually succeed, Morrow responded to a question from Largent about the state of the different camps by saying “rather than getting into camps, we should converge [LTE and WiMAX].”

Noting that the two technologies have very similar underpinnings — Motorola, in fact, has said that it re-uses much of its WiMAX-flavored technology when building LTE gear — Morrow said that all concerned should work toward a joint standard sometime in the future, since a single standard would produce greater economies of scale and therefore lower costs and better performance for end users.

More thoughts on this one later — time to go listen to Verizon talk about its LTE plans. Should be interesting to see what they think of Morrow’s kumbaya idea.

UPDATE: Perhaps predictably, Verizon didn’t think much of Morrow’s proposal. “There is one big happy family, and it is following the 3GPP (LTE) path,” said Tony Melone, Verizon executive vice president and Chief Technical Officer for wireless, during an LTE press briefing. “If they [Clearwire] want to converge, that’s the path to follow. But I don’t see the standards bodies coming together.”

About Paul Kapustka

Paul Kapustka is a longtime journalist who has spent more than two decades covering the information technology business, Paul most recently has been focusing on mobility and how it has changed the computing and collaborative landscape. His newest project outside Mobile Enterprise 360 is a research and analysis operation called WiFi Journal. He is also editor in chief of Mobile Sports Report, which covers the intersection of mobile technology and sports business. Paul is also the founder of Sidecut Reports, a research firm that covered the emergence of 4G technology in the cellular marketplace.


  1. curdriceaurora says:

    It is not at all strange to see this happen. WiMAX was never truly meant to be for Wireless providers. It was envisioned by the Wi-Fi community to provide more mobility. Irrespective of the prospects that Wireless providers might have seen to deploy the same, it never would have the same acceptance as what a natural evolution LTE would prove to be. LTE deployment would be slow and delayed, but due to the muscle that it has as backing, it will surely overcome WiMAX subscribers in no time. Another Betamax, but this time because it was chosen by the right choice by the wrong people.

  2. That’s about as weak and bland as you can get. Surely you can find a better analogy than Betamax, because not only is that one so old as to be embarrassing, but it doesn’t really fit. Try again.

  3. curdriceaurora says:

    Betamax may have been a very bad comparison, I agree but what I said still holds true what with so many operators contemplating/making the commitment switch from WiMAX to LTE.