Beceem to build LTE/WiMAX combo chip

WiMAX chip vendor Beceem Communications announced an integrated LTE/WiMAX chip--the BCS500--the company said will support up to 150 Mbps downlink speeds. Beceem, which has always been a staunch advocate for WiMAX technology, said it is building the chip so that devices will able to seamlessly roam between LTE and WiMAX and between time division duplex and frequency division duplex configurations.

The company said the BCS500 multi-mode chip will support the latest revisions of the IEEE 802.16 standard, as well as 3GPP-LTE standard Release 8. 

In an interview with FierceWireless, Beceem Vice President of Marketing Lars Johnson said the company has not stopped its focus on WiMAX but that it now believes the time is right to support LTE. And it believes that its chipset in unique. "Operators are interesting in roaming and developing partnership relationships," Johnson said. "Now device makers can address both networks."

He added that he envisions a scenario where, for example, potential MVNOs using Clearwire's WiMAX network may want dual-mode devices with LTE and WIMAX. Or he believes that operators outside the U.S. may want to offer devices that work on LTE outside the U.S. but on WiMAX inside the U.S.

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