Cisco exiting WiMAX RAN market

Cisco has confirmed that it will stop designing and building new WiMAX base stations, preferring to focus on the packet core since it acquired Starent Networks for $2.9 billion last fall.

Cisco entered the WiMAX RAN market in 2007 through the acquisition of Navini Networks for $330 million in 2007, viewing the acquisition as a way to extend its WiFi and WiFi-mesh portfolios and tackle emerging markets for broadband quicker, but contracts were few. However, as operators began to focus on the packet core network, Cisco, through its Starent acquisition, has now racked up some big contracts on the LTE and WiMAX side with the likes of Verizon Wireless and Clearwire. Other major customers include Sprint Nextel, Vodafone and Cox Communications.

"After careful review, our mobility strategy is to focus on providing a radio-agnostic IP end-to-end mobile multimedia services network," said Cisco spokeswoman Jennifer Buchhalter in an email to FierceBroadbandWireless. "Cisco will continue to focus on the packet core and to also focus on investment in radio technologies such as femtocells and WiFi. As part of this decision, we have decided to discontinue designing and building new WiMAX base stations. We believe the best way for Cisco to serve our customers is by delivering value at the edge and the core of our customers' networks."

Navini had brought to the table its smart beamforming technology combined with MIMO, which saved on the number of cell sites. It had also racked up a number of contracts in emerging markets as well as a contract with Xanadoo in the U.S.

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