NewNet targeting verticals with Motorola's old WiMAX business

WiMAX lives, according to NewNet, which is promising to take the product portfolio developed by Motorola's erstwhile WiMAX business unit into new vertical market segments while growing penetration in existing segments.

Shelton, Conn.-based NewNet agreed in November 2011 to buy the WiMAX business for an undisclosed sum from Nokia Siemens, which opted to rid itself of the unit it acquired via a July 2010 package deal in which it spent $1.2 billion for Motorola's entire wireless network infrastructure unit.

NewNet has identified key areas of market opportunity for WiMAX as mobile broadband, smart grid and public-safety. "WiMAX is a field-proven technology, and there are multiple emerging growth industries that require the quick deployment and attractive cost efficiencies inherent in WiMAX," said Ron Pyles, NewNet CEO and president.

"Applications still remain for WiMAX deployments such as DSL replacement and specific industry vertical applications like security monitoring. For companies looking to deploy WiMAX, NewNet's acquisition will provide them with another committed supporter of this technology," said Daryl Schoolar, principal analyst at Ovum.

This focus on vertical applications and other niche uses signals a ceding of the broad consumer market to rival technology LTE, which has become the de facto standard for mobile broadband in most markets worldwide, including the United States, where former WiMAX champions Sprint and Clearwire are jumping on the LTE bandwagon. Though small operators and even some larger ones, such as Japan's UQ Communications, are still pushing WiMAX as a consumer mobile broadband alternative, the technology is now largely seen as a complement, rather than a competitor, to LTE.  

On Feb. 8, 2012, NewNet announced the initial closing of its acquisition of the WiMAX business, which brought it 175 new employees. Scott Morrison, formerly of NSN's WiMAX team, will lead NewNet's telecom infrastructure business unit, which includes the WiMAX product portfolio. NewNet's WiMAX business has responsibility for 43 existing operator customers in 27 countries.

NewNet, owned by private investment firm Skyview Capital, said it is adding WiMAX research and development facilities in the United Kingdom and will expand R&D teams in the United States and India. The company will also add service and support capabilities in Pakistan, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. NewNet expects to close its acquisition of NSN's WiMAX business units in Hong Kong, mainland China, Malaysia and Taiwan next month. This later closing will result in the transfer of some 125 additional employees to NewNet.

The company will demonstrate WiMAX and its mobile payment solutions portfolio at the Mobile World Congress later this month in Barcelona.

For more:     
- see this release
- see this PCWorld article

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