Next year will see the arrival of dual mode WiMAX/LTE chipsets, according to analyst firm ABI Research.

The demand, says ABI, will come from wireless device makers looking for greater economies of scale and to reduce the number of SKUs (stock-keeping units) that comes from creating devices that support both 4G standards.

“Some mobile operators are showing interest in dual-mode chipsets,” says ABI Research principal analyst Philip Solis, “and they are backing it with cash. Vodafone, for example, has a foot in both WiMAX and LTE camps. They will use LTE in industrialised regions, and WiMAX in developing nations. In Japan, KDDI may deploy LTE on its own, but as an investor (along with Intel and others) in WiMAX operator UQ Communications, KDDI has an interest in both standards.”

Given that most of the early usage of both LTE and WiMAX will be for data transmission, ABI says that USB modems, laptops, netbooks, and MIDs are likely to be the first products to include the dual-mode chips.

“Because WiMAX networks will be deployed sooner than LTE, for competitive reasons these dual-mode chips are generally being created by WiMAX chip vendors, particularly the smaller, more agile ones,” Solis adds.