Motorola to boost, not cut, spending on LTE

Motorola's networks division is working to clarify comments from co-CEO Greg Brown during Motorola's first-quarter conference call that indicated the vendor would reduce its investments in Wimax and Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology as it looks to cut costs.

According to a report in 4G Trends, Motorola senior vice president Fred Wright said Motorola will actually double its spending on LTE development this year and has commenced an LTE trial with China Mobile for the Time Division Duplex (TDD) version of LTE.

During the company's recent conference call, Brown said Motorola was moderating its “investment in Wimax R&D to reflect current market conditions.” Brown said he didn't think of Wimax and LTE separately because of the way the company invested in R&D and developed its architecture. “There is a high level of re-usability between the two investments,” he said.

Wright clarified that statement to say that R&D spend for LTE in 2009 will be twice that of 2008 but that the total spend on both LTE and Wimax together will be lower.

In essence the spend on Wimax will be lower then, but Wright said the bulk of the R&D investment is lower now that products are in the market and development is additional features and enhancements to existing Wimax products.

Hence, the bulk of R&D will go to LTE. Motorola has worked to gain a significant foothold with LTE, given its lack of W-CDMA presence, but it is competing with the likes of Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, which both won large contracts with Verizon Wireless in February.

Now Motorola believes it can get a jump on competitors by targeting TDD LTE, or TD-LTE, as it has experience with TDD given its dominance in Wimax. China Mobile plans to move on TD-LTE, and Motorola will be trialing its technology with the operator this year.

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