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Just as HD-DVD lost its format war to Blu-ray, WiMax is losing the 4G wireless format war to a rival technology called LTE. And LTE just scored another victory, as Clearwire (CLWR) announced it will begin a LTE trial this fall in Phoenix.

Until now, Clearwire -- whose backers include Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) -- was the lone major US wireless carrier to put its weight behind WiMax, mostly because when Sprint's 4G plans were first announced in 2006, WiMax was all that existed.

Since then, the other major US wireless companies -- AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), T-Mobile (OTCQX:DTEGY), etc. -- have all put their weight behind LTE, snubbing WiMax.

So it makes a lot of sense of Clearwire to switch over to LTE if it's technically possible. It's becoming the worldwide standard, and it'll always be easier to get the best and latest devices for LTE, and not for WiMax.

The WiMax technology may still be useful for enterprise use, or for carriers themselves to use to send wireless data from point to point. But LTE has won the consumer format war, and we expect Clearwire to switch over, or at least to offer LTE-WiMax hybrid service, if its tests prove that to be technically possible.

Disclosure: No positions

Source: Is WiMax Toast?