NewNet vows to drive forward with onetime Motorola WiMax business

WiMax's future lies in fixed wireless broadband and specialized networks, the acquirer says

Motorola's former WiMax business unit set up shop under new owner NewNet Communications Technologies on Tuesday, diving into the next chapter of a technology that has been largely crowded out by LTE.

NewNet agreed to acquire the division for an undisclosed sum last year from Nokia Siemens, which had bought it from Motorola in July 2010 as part of a wider, US$1.2 billion deal. On Tuesday, NewNet announced the WiMax business would form the basis of a new Telecom Infrastructure Business Unit to be led by Scott Morrison, who previously ran the WiMax organization at Motorola and at Nokia Siemens. Owned by investment company Skyview Capital, NewNet has acquired assets from several other networking companies.

WiMax was the first standard, so-called 4G wireless data technology when it was standardized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in the past decade, first for fixed wireless networks and then for mobile systems. Intel invested heavily in WiMax on the premise that it could proliferate in the same way Wi-Fi did, through open standards. But telecom carriers rallied around LTE (Long-Term Evolution), created as the next generation of GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications). LTE has captured the lion's share of 4G commitments by mobile operators around the world, eventually including WiMax's largest proponents, Sprint Nextel and Clearwire.

In a press release Tuesday, NewNet promoted WiMax as a proven technology with relatively low costs and quick deployment. It can still be attractive for specialized uses such as public safety networks and smart utility grids, the company said. Through the new business, NewNet said it now has more than 40 WiMax customers in 27 countries. The company plans to showcase and demonstrate its WiMax products at Mobile World Congress later this month.

Companies deploying WiMax for those specialized types of applications, and for fixed wireless in some communities without wired broadband, can get around the limitations of the technology, Ovum analyst Daryl Schoolar said. Key among those is the dimmer outlook for new client devices for WiMax, which is likely to be outpaced by LTE soon in terms of smartphones and other mobile gear, he said. Where it's not supporting a consumer mobile service, WiMax won't require a hot new phone every few months, Schoolar said.

In its fixed wireless form, which lets customers access the Internet at home over desktop modems or in stationary "nomadic" mode on laptops, WiMax can be an alternative to wired broadband. A recent informal survey of broadband offerings by IDG publications worldwide found WiMax-based broadband services in Nigeria, delivering 2Mbps (bits per second), and in Zambia with 500Kbps.

Still, WiMax vendors face growing competition from companies selling TD-LTE, the time-division variant of LTE, Schoolar said. Like WiMax, TD-LTE uses the same frequencies for upstream and downstream traffic instead of using separate, paired frequencies. Clearwire and other WiMax service providers are now turning to TD-LTE, though in Clearwire's case, it has enough spectrum to also keep WiMax for some time.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?