Broadcom, which bought WiMAX/LTE chipmaker Beceem last year for $316 million in a bid to get a leg up in the 4G market, is acknowledging that WiMAX's position in the U.S. market is fading fast.
"The WiMAX business is getting isolated to certain geographies," Michael Hurlston, senior vice president of the wireless LAN business at Broadcom, told Beta News. "It's doing well in, for example, India, and doing relatively well in Japan, and somewhat in the Eastern Bloc, but in the U.S., I would say that it's not doing particularly well." He said Broadcom's Beceem team is essentially done with WiMAX and that LTE is supplanting WiMAX.
The market's shift away from WiMAX crystallized last week when Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) said it intends to deploy TDD-LTE if it can get additional funding. The company plans to maintain its mobile WiMAX network, but clearly indicated that LTE was where it intends to go in the future. Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), Clearwire's majority owner and largest wholesale customer, also recently inked an LTE network-hosting deal with LightSquared.
Hurlston said Broadcom is "re-tasking" its Beceem team to focus on LTE.
Beceem, which counts Clearwire as a major customer, has hedged its bets with an LTE/WiMAX combo chip. The chip will allow devices to seamlessly roam between LTE and WiMAX, and between TDD-LTE and FDD-LTE configurations.
- see this Beta News article
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