Alvarion's position in mobile WiMAX grows stronger

Alvarion, which has made a name for itself in the fixed WiMAX market, has been a bit of a slow starter in the mobile WiMAX world--the larger market opportunity. Analysts have questioned Alvarion's position relative to its larger counterparts such as Motorola, Nortel and Samsung that have better expertise in deploying mobile broadband solutions.  

This week, however, Alvarion gained some momentum. It made a deal with AT&T Alascom, which will see the operator deploy Alvarion's BreezeMAX 2.3 GHz TDD equipment as part of AT&T Alascom's deployment of mobile WiMAX in Alaska. AT&T has a substantial portfolio of 2.5 GHz and 2.3 GHz spectrum in most of the 50 largest U.S. markets. So far, the spectrum has been essentially warehoused. Could AT&T's moves in Alaska signal some plans for the continental U.S.? And could Alvarion be a significant part of those plans?

Alvarion also made a deal this week with Japanese wireless vendor Hitachi to develop mobile WiMAX technology that can be used both in Japan and in the overseas market. The two are developing equipment using the 2.5 GHz band that is licensed for WiMAX in Japan. Hitachi is a formidable competitor in Japan having worked on WiFi and other wireless technology for years and winning some major mobile contracts there.

Meanwhile, in order to deliver a mobile WiMAX ecosystem on par with larger telecom vendors and system integrators, Alvarion has taken a number of steps to grow its mobile WiMAX partnership. In January, the vendor announced work with Accton Technology to produce and deliver mobile WiMAX CPE. Following the announcement, Alvarion unveiled its OPEN WiMAX ecosystem program, pointing to interoperability with silicon providers Beceem, Intel, Runcom and Sequans and with Cisco as a core network partner.

Last month, Alvarion and Arraycomm announced a technology partnership that integrates Arraycomm's intelligent antenna solutions into Alvarion's 4Motion mobile WiMAX offering. Leveraging a combination of MIMO, beam forming and interference cancellation, Arraycomm's A-MAS solution promises to deliver Alvarion two-to-four times the coverage and spectral efficiency of the WiMAX Forum's baseline profiles.

It looks like Alvarion's investments and partnerships are beginning to pay off.--Lynnette


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