From WiMAX and LTE 4G mobile broadband services are generally considered competitors as they offer similar standards but require different technology to be deployed and implemented. But now that WiMAX leaders Sprint and Clearwire struck a deal with Lightsquared to introduce LTE LTE services, it raises the question of how realistic and realizable this dual-technology implementation is.

Sprint and Clearwire own a very large frequency spectrum available for the LTE band and their WiMAX network is already well developed. Another difficulty would have been to get phone and chipset manufacturers to develop products capable of supporting both technologies for reasonable prices. However, great progress is made as ICT giant Huawei has already launched multiple convergent LTE/WiMAX offerings. Huawei’s products support multi-mode network connections, multiple bandwidths from both technologies and global roaming to switch between different networks. As the risk of building convergent mobile broadband networks and adopting multi-mode devices diminishes, the global industry chain will be more likely to take a step into WiMAX/LTE cooperation, just like Sprint.

But the main issue remains the financial compound of hosting these two different wireless standards both for Sprint and its partner Clearwire. In 2006, Sprint invested $5 billion to launch the first nationwide mobile broadband network on 4G WiMAX with the assumption that taking the first step so early in the competition would give it a powerful advantage.