Nokia Siemens Networks has become the latest gear maker to back away from the WiMAX business after inking a reseller agreement with Alvarion to market the 4G BreezeMax suite, NSN said Thursday. The company, which is dropping WiMAX from its Flexi base station, will continue to provide managed services as it joins other vendors in focusing on supplying Long-Term Evolution technology.
A Nokia Siemens Networks official said last week that the equipment maker "has no plans to buy further assets" beyond the Carrier Networks unit of Nortel Networks that NSN is already pursuing. The comments came days after a NSN executive said in a speech that the company might be interested in buying Nortel's "other" assets if the price was right.
As more bidders expressed interest in Nortel Networks' Carrier Network unit, Nokia Siemens Networks said it would beef up its $650 million bid if necessary to win the asset. Nortel's former chief strategy officer is advising MatlinPatterson, a group of Nortel creditors that wants to buy the entire company, and two separate groups of Nortel alumni are also trying to mount an eleventh-hour bid for the equipment maker.
Although the use of Nortel's CDMA-based system is dropping off, Nokia Siemens Networks expects to leverage its $650 million deal to acquire Nortel's CDMA business to transition its existing customers to LTE and create a sizable North American base for its 4G services. "We will get depth with those customers that we hadn't had before, and we'll use that as a springboard," said NSN CEO Simon Beresford-Wylie.
Nokia Siemens Networks introduced Thursday its new Flexi-operated unified radio base station that promises carriers it can handle all of the 2G, 3G and 4G needs. While the device lacks the software to operate Long Term Evolution-based 4G service, NSN said it could handle GSM/EDGE and HSPA networks today and be reconfigured to support LTE down the road.