WiMAX vendors that have stuck through the whole thick of problems and issues that have been associated with commercially developing, deploying and expanding a 4G radio access network, are now able to leverage this experience. Infrastructure vendors have planned on supporting WiMAX and LTE. This way, they can keep their WiMAX customers and maintain this market and expand their LTE customers.
In essence, there is a lot of re-useable hardware in a WiMAX base station that can be used for manufacturing an LTE base stations. They are using the same OFDM underlying technology for most of the radio access network. Creating LTE base stations using this experience can quicken the learning curve and help LTE mature faster. A possible dual mode WiMAX/LTE base station is not out of the question either.
With the recent news of NSN acquiring Motorola's telecommunications network equipment business, and after listening to an interesting Q2 earnings conference call from Alvarion today, a couple of things come to mind.
Telecommunications vendors can already have a potential LTE upgrade customer base with their previous and current WiMAX customers. They could offer a smooth transition for those interested in this shift. Alvarion announced plans like this during their conference call. A valid point was made in saying that although not all of their customers will want to move towards LTE, they do have this possibility for them in the future if willing. Service providers would have to consider their customer's equipment if they were to do this change. Moving towards LTE would require changing WiMAX user's CPE, dongles, and/or devices into dual mode LTE/WiMAX or LTE compatible devices.
During the call, Alvarion mentioned letters of intent with a major Indian operator with three of their local partners. They also mentioned their plans on expanding, stocking up inventory and are ready for a major deployment. It was unkown what type of 4G network they were talking about, but not a lot of details were shed on this topic. In any case, whether it be for WiMAX or LTE, business in a high growth market like India would be good news for them.
WiMAX has gotten the short end of the stick in many aspects. From negative press, to deployment issues with country spectrum regulators, to having to trudge through a economic recession. It's good to see that infrastructure vendors, whom drive the market and have an important say in what happens with it, share their decisions and choices in leveraging what they know and have, and offering their customers both options when they decide to go towards 4G.