The 4G war: has WiMAX won, or will Verizon choose LTE?

In a wrap-up of the state of 4G networks over at BusinessWeek, the battle between the three competing 4G network standards -- WIMAX, Long Term Evolution (LTE), and Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB) -- is appraised, with WIMAX clearly edging out its other rivals. This could be a two horse race before long if Verizon chooses to back GSM's successor LTE over CDMA's sequel, UMB. That would leave Qualcomm without one of its most significant backers for CDMA's spiritual sibling, although it'll do just fine thanks to the multiple 4G patents it holds. Ultimately though, in all of this space there's very little discussion about what the consumer wants: do we really need two or three different standards that probably won't inter-operate, leaving us back at the square we've always been at? Frankly, for all the benefits that 4G is purported to bring, we'd like something a little more imaginative than the usual bickering amongst the big shots.

Update: Although it didn't come from VZW, last month Vodafone's chairman Arun Sarin made it clear that Verizon will go for LTE. Bad news for UMB!