Apologies in advance for my readers who aren't so tech-oriented - you may want to skip this one as it will mostly just be technobabble.
In my IT studies, I recently came across a term I was unfamiliar with - "WiMax." Basically described as Wi-Fi on steroids, WiMax is a comparable wireless communications technology with much greater range.
It seems that WiMax is presently being used as a fixed wireless access service (basically instead of running cables, you get signals like with Wi-Fi), although I can't find much information as to how widely deployed and available it is in the U.S. right now. WiMax suffers from interference and penetration issues due to where it's located on the spectrum band.
Sprint built out a WiMax network for its mobile service some years ago, but unfortunately the deployment dragged on for too long and competitors adopted LTE, which has now become the prevalent 4G technology. Sprint will shut down its WiMax operations this year, reportedly.
I was talking with one of my supervisors yesterday and he told me that KDDI in Japan is still building out and marketing WiMax. They may be the only carrier in the world to be doing so! I wonder if they're swimming upstream, though...