Having been a founder and high-profile member of the WiMAX Forum, Nokia has now compared the technology to Betamax, the video format that lost out to VHS over 30 years ago. The company, which developed and launched its N810 WiMAX device a year ago (since dropped), believes that LTE is the only way forward and will be the dominant standard for mobile by 2015.
Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia's head of sales and manufacturing, said WiMAX was not establishing a significant presence anywhere in the world, "and I don't think the future is very promising for WiMAX. This is a classic example of industry standards clashing, and somebody comes out as the winner and somebody has to lose. Betamax was there for a long time, but VHS dominated the market. I see exactly the same thing happening here."
This viewpoint, the strongest on WiMAX that the company has made, echoes a study conducted by IMS Research late last year that claimed the technology would be quite successful as a fixed broadband solution, especially in underserved markets. "However, although mobile WiMAX networks are already going live thanks to Sprint/Clearwire and Korea Telecom, the prospects of additional mobile WiMAX networks from Tier 1 operators are looking pretty grim," said IMS analyst Bob Perez.
However, Samsung seems not to support Nokia's gloomy outlook and has unveiled a WiMAX device that would appear to fall somewhere between a smartphone and netbook in capability. The unit, labelled Mondi, supports Windows Mobile 6.1 and seems destined for use on Clearwire's US network--albeit that the WiMAX service is only available in Baltimore and Portland, Oregon today.
Special Report: Is WiMAX hindered by a lack of devices?
Clearwire tests WiMAX mobile VoIP phones
Nokia affirms LTE commitment, dismisses WiMAX
Nokia hoists the WiMAX flag 180 feet