Wireless Format War Brewing: Verizon Picks 'LTE' For 4G

Verizon Wireless will use a technology called “LTE,” or “long-term evolution” for its forthcoming, faster ‘4G’ wireless network, the company said today. This is a rival technology to WiMax, which both Sprint Nextel (S) and Clearwire (CLWR) are using to build their next-generation wireless networks. Devices aren’t likely to work on both types of network, so we’re probably going to see another wireless format war, like today’s between GSM (AT&T, T-Mobile) and CDMA (Verizon, Sprint). One plus for LTE: It’s more closely related to GSM than it is to the far-less-popular CDMA, meaning Verizon’s devices should be more compatible with networks around the world.

Verizon (VZ/VOD) will trial the network beginning next year, but the company gave no indication as to when it would launch commercially or how much it would cost to build or use. Sprint had earmarked $5 billion for its WiMax buildout, but the future of that network got cloudy last month when Gary Forsee was booted as CEO and a deal to partner with Clearwire fell through.

The big winners here: Alcatel-Lucent (ALU), Ericsson (ERIC), Motorola (MOT), Nokia-Siemens (NOK), and Nortel (NT) — the companies that Verizon will buy its 4G network gear from. Release

See Also: What ‘Open’ Verizon Means: Less Than You Think

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