WiMAX Forum: As operators bet on LTE, WiMAX still has its place

WiMAX Forum Chairman Ron Resnick acknowledged that WiMAX technology will likely be a minority technology down the line, but the technology still has its place.

"The biggest mobile operators around the world are betting on LTE," Resnick told IDC News Service. "Then you have a few big mobile operators who are just saying, 'Heck, I can do something now.'" He said WiMAX is appealing in some developing countries such as India and Indonesia where operators want to deploy less expensive technology for their initial networks.

Recently, WiMAX technology has taken somewhat of a hit thanks to news from Russian operator Yota that it would no longer roll out WiMAX but instead deploy LTE in its remaining markets. Clearwire in recent months has also talked of deploying LTE alongside its WiMAX network.

Since those operators would be operating two networks, users would need dual-mode devices to take advantage of the full coverage area. Resnick said the forum may participate in dual-mode certification down the line.

"I think we should be open to looking at it," he said.

Meanwhile, the forum has faced membership attrition of 100 companies and staff downsizing. The forum closed its Portland, Ore., office and eliminated six to eight contract positions. It is increasing its reliance on volunteers from member companies and recently opened a new office in San Diego where it hired a more experienced project manager, according to Resnick. The Forum is now a virtual organization with a staff of about 20 spread around the country.

About 300 members are now part of the forum, and attrition has occurred because some companies joined the forum to evaluate WiMAX and decide whether they wanted to play in the market. But Resnick emphasized that while some smaller companies have pulled out of the forum, the largest WiMAX vendors are staying.

"The folks who made it in the industry, they are all still there," Resnick said. Board members include Intel, Samsung, Nokia, Huawei, Sprint Nextel and Korea Telecom. Even those not working with WiMAX, such as Cisco Systems and Ericsson, are still part of the forum, he said.

For more:
- see this IDC News Service article

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