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Vendors Recognize WiMAX Opportunities

Vendors Recognize WiMAX Opportunities
By Monica Alleven

CHICAGO—Sprint Nextel shared the stage Wednesday afternoon with some of its vendor partners: Intel, Motorola, Samsung and Nokia Siemens Networks.

Barry West, chief technology officer and president of Xohm for Sprint Nextel, recognized their involvement, as well as others in the ecosystem, and explained that it was a well-thought out process from the get-go. "We really have addressed this holistically," he said.

While he publicly thanked his partners, their opportunities for WiMAX clearly go well beyond the U.S. market, where Sprint is the wide-area cellular carrier to most aggressively embrace WiMAX.

So far, the vendor on the infrastructure side for Clearwire in the United States has been Motorola, but with Clearwire's partnering with Sprint Nextel, which is using several vendors, that would appear to open the way for other vendors to get Clearwire's business.

The ink isn't completely dry on Sprint's collaboration with Clearwire, and panelists were not jumping up to make any vendor announcements on the part of Clearwire, deferring to the operator for that.

Fred Wright, Motorola senior vice president, Home & Networks Mobility, said in its agreement with Clearwire, Motorola is the exclusive infrastructure provider, and it has "no plans to change that," he quipped to the amusement of the audience. Of course, on the handset side, Motorola isn't going to be the only provider.

Meanwhile, West has been traveling the world, visiting others interested in Sprint's WiMAX endeavors. He said if the rest of the world did not go with WiMAX, it would not be the end of Xohm. However, with hundreds of trials going on worldwide and interest burgeoning around the world, he surmises the WiMAX camp doesn't have anything to worry about.

In response to a question about the role of Google, West said every 800-pound gorilla was a 50-pound gorilla at one stage. Going forward, there will be at least two 800-pound gorillas, "and one of them is going to be Xohm," he said.

The way people access the Internet is changing, he also noted. In the same way mobile is how people make phone calls today, having the Internet everywhere and all the information it provides is the wave of the future. What Google does well is sift through all of that information, and while Google is not free, as it is often perceived, it has been clever in building a business model with its ads.

Also joining West and Wright on stage were Sue Spradley, head of North America for Nokia Siemens Networks; Sean Maloney, executive vice president at Intel; and Won-Pyo Hong, executive vice president and telecom systems adviser at Samsung Electronics.

Source:  Vendors Recognize WiMAX Opportunities, By Monica Alleven, WirelessWeek - September 27, 2007

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