The ITU this week has attempted to change the discussion about WiMAX, by declaring it a 3G technology.
WiMAX has commonly been considered a 4G technology, standing apart from today’s 3G wireless landscape. The difference from 3G and 4G has largely been viewed in more abstract terms than previous generations. Specifically 4G focuses on expanding wireless access to devices beyond handset and aircards, redefining roaming, and offering bandwidth capacities on-par with traditional internet connections.
The ITU however has classified WiMAX (802.16e) as a 3G technology. While their rational of this is complex, it appears to bottom-line the ITU’s blatant bias towards European technology.
This is not the first time that the ITU and the U.S. have crossed paths. Initially, the ITU declared CDMA2000 to not be a fully-3G technology, only to give rival UMTS technology certification. The ITU eventually declared EV-DO technology to be 3G. The ITU is sponsored by the United Nations and has a consistent track record of being anti-American in regards to its classifications. WiMAX is more heavily backed by American companies, such as Motorola, Intel, and Sprint. Similarly, CDMA and CDMA2000 were developed by Qualcomm.
PhoneNews.com was the first to confirm Sprint’s selection of WiMAX technology, and was the first to coin WiMAX as a 4G technology. We suggest readers ignore the ITU opinion as it creates needless confusion, and may be politically biased.