Intel recently confessed that they were working closely with both Samsung and Motorola (among others, possibly) to develop the next-generation of WiMAX, a standard that would best 4G and hopefully take things faster than where they are today. As nice as Clear's service is, which operates on a 4G WiMAX network, it's not that much faster than 3G in many scenarios, and it's certainly nowhere near as fast as a hard-line broadband connection.
The new group, called WiMAX 2 Collaboration Initiative, will work together to "accelerate interoperability of the next release of WiMAX technology, WiMAX 2, based upon the IEEE 802.16m standard." The new standard will be backwards compatible, and will meet the International Telecommunications Union requirements for 4G or “IMT-Advanced. Early reports suggest that WiMAX 2 could deliver peak rates of more than 300Mbps, not to mention lower latency and increased VoIP capacity.
The 802.16m air interface standard definition began in 2006 in the IEEE as a follow-on to 802.16e, and is expected to be completed in the 2nd half of 2010. When Sprint, Clear and anyone else will join in to start selling the service is anyone's guess.
As the 4G wireless broadband industry begins to take shape, it is imperative to evolve the industry model to create a better value chain for service providers. With this goal in mind, leading WiMAX vendors Alvarion, Beceem, GCT Semiconductor, Intel, Motorola, Samsung, Sequans, XRONet and ZTE as well as the Taiwanese research organization, ITRI, have launched the WiMAX 2 Collaboration Initiative (WCI). The group will work closely with the WiMAX Forum to accelerate the implementation of interoperable system profiles for WiMAX 2 equipment and devices with the goal of improving the economics of mobile broadband. The objectives of the group include: