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Nokia ends production of only WiMAX handset

11 января 2009

Nokia has revealed that it is ending production of its N810 WiMAX Edition, the only model in its range that supports the mobile broadband technology.

The world's number one handset maker issued a statement saying that the N810 Internet tablet had reached the "end of its lifecycle," despite only launching the device in April 2008.

The handset runs on the 2.5GHz frequency used by Clearwire for its U.S. WiMAX network.

Nokia was quick to point out that it is not necessarily abandoning WiMAX altogether.

"We will continue to follow the WiMAX network development, and new product development decisions will be considered based on the evolution of the business," the vendor said.

However, it did not allude to any new WiMAX products being in the pipeline.

Nonetheless, analysts cast doubt on Nokia pulling out of the market completely.

"Nokia have traditionally taken a back seat in new technologies, so a complete withdrawal seems unlikely," said Steven Hartley, senior analyst at Ovum.

"[But] in the event this signals Nokia's complete withdrawal from WiMAX then it will come as a kick in the teeth to WiMAX operators in Europe that have USB modems but are frustrated with the lack of mobile handsets," he said.

Hartley also insisted that Nokia's decision to cease making the N810 has not dealt a massive blow to the U.S. WiMAX sector.

"Nokia doesn't have as big a presence in the
U.S. as it does elsewhere, so it won't be seen as a major issue," he said.

He noted that it would be more significant should Samsung or LG Electronics to pull out of WiMAX development, because they have a greater share of the
U.S. handset market.

Still, the move is an unusual one for Nokia given recent comments by CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo.

"The North American market is very significant...
New business models and form factors have spread from the U.S. to other markets. Having a meaningful position has strategic importance," he is reported to have said during an investor conference hosted by Nokia in December.

With an increasing number of vendors including Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks backing LTE as the next-generation network equipment of choice, it looks increasingly likely that WiMAX is set to become a niche market technology.

"In five years time we expect there will be more LTE connections than mobile WiMAX connections," said Hartley, pointing out that unlike WiMAX, LTE-based services are yet to be commercially launched.

"WiMAX technology will stay with us in some guise, but it hasn't gained the traction it needs in order to compete on a global scale," he commented.

"If Nokia sees a big enough market they'll go for it, but at the moment WiMAX doesn't have the volumes," he said.

Источник: Total Telecom

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