Nokia Dumps WiMAX Business

WiMAX logoNokia Siemens Networks a joint venture between Finland's Nokia and Germany's Siemens AG is a giant in the telecom industry, behind only Ericsson AB and China's privately owned Huawei in gear (e.g. base stations, etc.) sales. With Nokia's well-documented core sales struggles, the gearmaker subsidiary has also been impacted and has looked to tighten the belt.

As part of that effort it just sold [Press Release] its WiMAX unit to NewNet Communication Technologies, LLC, a Skyview Capital, LLC portfolio company. WiMAX is a fourth generation (4G) telecommunications standard, which has been back by, among others, Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) in the U.S.

I. WiMAX: Past and Present

Much like the HD DVD vs. Blu Ray war, WiMAX has fallen out of international favor while LTE is now accepted by most as the de facto 4G solution for future deployments (even Sprint is working to switch to LTE by the end of 2012). This stands in contrast to the last generation where GSM and CDMA vied for international supremacy in the 3G market, an even today still are locked in this battle.

That said WiMAX isn't quite as dead as HD DVD -- not yet, at least.

The WiMAX unit was actually a relatively recent addition for NSN, purchased in 2010, back when things looked more promising for the standard. Despite its parent company Nokia's widely publicized view that LTE was the future and WiMAX was a footnote, NSN still sold WiMAX solutions prior to the purchase. At the time it was simply rebranding Alvarion WiMAX products -- an Israeli wireless solutions provider.

NSN received the WiMAX unit as part of a 2010 $1.2B USD purchase of Motorola's Network infrastructure unit, which was like more driven out of the desire to grab the LTE and 3G technologies and intellectual property, with WiMAX a fringe benefit. The deal helped close Motorola Inc.'s effort to divide into two companies, which began in 2008. The one company -- Motorola used to be the parent of the network infrastructure division. After the sale it focused its efforts on its enterprise mobility solutions division, which is active to this day.

Meanwhile, the handset division, which has seen a couple rocky years with losses in 2007 and layoffs in 2008, was spun off to form Motorola Mobility. Motorola Mobility would go on to recover, thanks to its use of the suddenly successful Android operating system by Google. That relationship eventually deepened with Google opting to purchase Motorola Mobility for $12.5B USD.

II. Who are the Unit's Customers?

Nokia Siemens Networks page brags about the WiMAX Unit, commenting:

We are the global leader in WiMAX with over 40 customer deployments and more than 3 million WiMAX devices shipped to date.

We did some quick research to confirm that claim, and what we found was interesting. It appears that NSN's claims of WiMAX dominance are relatively misleading.

Samsung is generally regarded by analysts as the top WiMAX network hardware producer. Notably, Samsung provided ClearWire with the hardware it needed to power Sprint's network (documents indicate that some of the hardware may have been provided through a convoluted licensing deal with Ericsson).

By contrast, NSN appears to have focused on smaller deployments, such as installations in Iraq, Poland, Ireland, and Taiwan. Additionally Nokia delivered at least one WiMAX-capable handset -- the N810 -- which it might have counted towards its "3 million WiMAX devices shipped" claim.

III. What's Next for the Unit?

It's unclear what its new owner will do with it, but it's keeping on 300 employees from the unit, ones who escaped Nokia's latest round of layoffs. NewNet Communications' primary business has been in selling mobile service platforms such as e-billing and streaming media to mobile carriers.

Regardless of how it chooses to use the WiMAX division -- a mystery at this point -- it likely got a pretty good deal on the WiMAX unit. The Nokia press release commented:

Specific terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

In the case of a public sale like this, that typically means that the transaction price was small and the parties involved wanted to keep it a trade secret for obvious reasons.

One possibility is that NewNet could focus the unit on optimizing its licensed platforms for use on existing WiMAX networks.

Source: DailyTech

Tags: Nokia, WiMAX

Add comment

Your name:
Sign in with:
Your comment:

Enter code:

E-mail (not required)
E-mail will not be disclosed to the third party

Last news

Galaxy Note10 really is built around a 6.7-inch display
You may still be able to download your content
Facebook, Messenger and Instagram are all going away
Minimize apps to a floating, always-on-top bubble
Japan Display has been providing LCDs for the iPhone XR, the only LCD model in Apple’s 2018 line-up
The 2001 operating system has reached its lowest share level
The entire TSMC 5nm design infrastructure is available now from TSMC
The smartphone uses a Snapdragon 660 processor running Android 9 Pie
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) Review
The evolution of the successful smartphone, now with a waterproof body and USB Type-C
February 7, 2017 / 2
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S - a tablet with the Windows-keyboard
The first Windows-tablet with the 12-inch display Super AMOLED
June 7, 2016 /
Keyboards for iOS
Ten iOS keyboards review
July 18, 2015 /
Samsung E1200 Mobile Phone Review
A cheap phone with a good screen
March 8, 2015 / 4
Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card review
Good sound for those who are not satisfied with the onboard solution
September 25, 2014 / 2
Samsung Galaxy Gear: Smartwatch at High Price
The first smartwatch from Samsung - almost a smartphone with a small body
December 19, 2013 /

News Archive



Do you use microSD card with your phone?
or leave your own version in comments (15)