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Moto sees WiMax expertise as key to future LTE contracts
|07 декабря 2009|
While Moto may not have the size or product portfolio of its LTE rivals, it has the advantage of having actually deployed a commercial 4G network
Motorola may be a small vendor playing a high-stakes 4G game with giants, but senior vice president and wireless networks general manager Bruce Brda believes Moto has an ace in the hole. As vendor after vendor has abandoned their mobile WiMax product lines, they’ve also sacrificed the practical knowledge of designing and deploying commercial 4G networks, Brda said. Motorola has a big pot of experience gained from deploying WiMax networks with Clearwire and carriers all over the world, and ultimately Motorola will be able to draw deeply from that pot to remain a formidable long-term evolution (LTE) contender, Brda said.
“We have a leadership position in WiMax, which is more and more proving to be an advantage as we go into the LTE space,” Brda said. “A lot of the things we solved with WiMax 4G networks will directly apply to LTE networks. Some of our competitors have yet to come across those challenges.”
Brda said that Motorola’s WiMax and LTE product portfolios share 70% of the same technology, allowing Motorola to apply most of what it learns from its WiMax rollouts to tweaking its LTE product line. For example, Motorola has gained enormous insight in fine-tuning the 4G network scheduler, the master controller of the radio access network which prioritizes voice and data traffic based on available radio and processing resources, Brda said. That kind of knowledge can’t be gained in the lab, he added, only in the field, which puts Moto at a tremendous advantage against the presumed LTE market leaders, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks and Huawei.
“I know our competitors are smart guys—they’ll figure this out—but we’ve crossed a lot of hurdles that they’ve not yet run into,” Brda said. “In the early days of commercializing the technology, I believe we’ll have a significant lead. … Our product appears to be more commercially ready and more field-hardened than any of our competitors.”
Motorola has carved a sizable market niche for itself in the mobile WiMax market, announcing last month it had shipped its 10,000th base station, though it is by no means the leader in the market. Samsung, which shares the Clearwire radio contract with Motorola and Huawei, claims to have shipped 26,000 base stations in the same time period. Meanwhile Alcatel-Lucent and WiMax specialist Alvarion (NASDAQ:ALVR) have a formidable presence in the market, though their contracts tend to focus on fixed wireless access deployments while Motorola and Samsung target the mobile market exclusively.
So far, Motorola hasn’t been able to translate its relative success in the WiMax market to commercial LTE contracts, though Japanese CDMA operator KDDI has selected Motorola along with NEC to develop future base stations for trials next year and a commercial deployment in 2012. Motorola has been heavily involved in LTE trials around the globe. It’s time-division LTE is being tested by China Mobile and the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. With TD-LTE, Brda said, Motorola has a particularly good shot at making an impression. While other vendors developed their LTE systems as frequency division duplexing (FDD) architectures, Motorola has been developing time division duplexing (TDD) systems from day one for WiMax operators. If Motorola does well in the Chinese trials, it could use them as a launch pad to Europe where operators are eyeing LTE for their unpaired TDD spectrum, Brda said.