Nortel just announced it is discontinuing its WiMAX offering which was supplied by Israeli company Alvarion. The company says these moves will allow it to focus more effectively while better positioning itself in other areas where it is stronger.
This news comes as a further blow to WiMAX and follows up on earlier analysis today about the difficulty WiMAX is having in a slow global economy. The question worth asking is when will WiMAX make money for vendors/carriers if so many companies are pulling away from the standard?
After all, will new wireless carriers migrate to WiMAX while equipment providers are visibly pulling out? All the signs point to LTE becoming a strong standard with WiMAX becoming a niche play.
Moreover, in today’s device-happy world with touch-screen devices allowing consumers and business people to surf on the go, who wants a fast network which doesn’t have broad device support?
I don’t think it over for WiMAX yet though… If RIM or Apple adds WiMAX support to a popular device, we could see the market momentum shift. But service providers can’t turn on a dime when they are deploying equipment. There is a tremendous expense they need to absorb in switching between WiMAX and LTE.
Certainly this news just makes it more difficult for wireless providers to determine which standard to use and at next week’s 4GWE show in Miami, I look forward to discussing these issues with you in detail.