There are four technologies that classify into what is considered as 4G wireless broadband: WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access), LTE (Long Term Evolution), UMB (Ultra Mobile Broadband) and Flash OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division-Multiplexing). Among the four, WiMax and LTE are already being deployed, with LTE by Verizon expected to rollout to selected areas by the end of 2010, and with WiMax already made available in some parts of the country. Clearwire has already made WiMax available in 32 markets in the country, reaching around 41 million people. It is planning to expand its coverage to reach 120 million people by the end of 2010.
Majority of Clearwire is owned by Sprint which is an authorized retailer reselling WiMax under Sprint 4G. Cable companies are also out to resell the service. This summer alone, Clearwire, Sprint, and Comcast are expected to offer the service in 15 new markets in selected cities in Oregon, 4G LTE Dongle United Kingdom Michigan, Delaware, California, Utah, Kansas, Tennessee, and Florida. Time Warner is also an authorized retailer, partnering with Clearwire and Sprint to bring WiMax to two New York cities by the end of summer.
Similar to WiFi, WiMax can be used by desktops, portables, and handheld mobile devices. ASUS, Dell, HP, MSI, Samsung, and Toshiba, are just some of the netbook and laptop manufacturers that have already come-out with WiMax ready lines. Other manufacturers are expected to follow suit and release their own WiMax ready portables. Although WiMax ready desktops are not yet rolled-out, an option to connect through WiMax is by using a USB dongle that can also be used for laptops that are not WiMax ready yet. For mobile phones, there is only one WiMax ready model so far, the HTC Supersonic from Sprint that was released last March. As more and more phone and cable companies make the service available to more subscribers, we can expect that most, if not all laptops, desktops, and mobile phones will be WiMax ready considering that Intel is one of the member companies of the WiMax Forum, the non-profit organization that promotes the use of WiMax, and certifies WiMax compliant devices.