The major differences between WiMAX and its major competitor in 4G mobile broadband technology, LTE is that while WiMAX has been developed on open standards that can be broadly adopted by various players, LTE's intellectual property was controlled by only a handful of GSM based players. In that sense whether it is innovation in technology or pricing, consmers would be at an advantage if WiMAX is adopted.
However there are also important concerns regarding adoption of this technology by the network operators and the constant incentive for backers of WiMAX technology such as Intel. The problems with WiMAX are:
1) WiMAX was better than 3G in terms of speed and cost of operations. However LTE after being backed by GSM operators could match WiMAX in terms of speed and cost efficiency. As the case suggests, the threat of WiMAX was already accelerating the LTE 4G technology. Additionally while LTE was backed by network operators with deep experience in mobile technology, WiMAX was being backed by small players with relatively less experience in wireless deployment.
2) Intel wanted WiMAX to evolve on open standards. Open standards means that equipment based on WiMAX will be cheaper compared to LTE. However the problem with this approach is that the low prices deter many companies to adopt WiMAX preventing innovation. As companies don't see much merit into investing in a technology which is not going to be much profitable, they stop backing it and slowly it fades away. The danger of open standards is that while it is good from customers' point of view in terms of cheap services, it does not attract investment commensurate with it. Linux is a case in point. It is therefore quite conceivable that due to investments in LTE, it would perhaps hold edge over WiMAX in terms of broadband speed etc. and once the gap between LTE and WiMAX is closed in terms of product features, the benefit of being profitable will drive its adoption and also customers who might be more concerned about how widely available the service is than on its cost..
So whether WiMAX is better technology for mobile broadband than LTE boils down to an important consideration which is how quick Intel, Clearwire, Sprint etc. are able to build a WiMAX specific ecosystem and in turn are able to create value for themselves. If it turns out that the technology does not live upto its expectation for its backers and LTE quickly catches up, then on factors like innovation, coverage area (such as requiring mobile broadband worldwide) etc. LTE would be a more acceptable technology not just for telecom network operators but also customers.