Nokia flip-flops; Says WiMAX is failed technology, “Wireless Betamax”

Nokia logo

Nokia used to praise Sprint for its bold effort to roll-out a WiMAX network in the United States. As market moves, so does the attitude of the Finnish giant. Even though we supposed to see few Nokia WiMAX-enabled devices last year, nothing from that actually happened. Quite the contrary – Nokia killed the N810 WiMAX edition.

And now, as most of the industry is gathering around LTE, they say WiMAX is a “failed idea” and is considered a “Wireless Betamax.”

“I don’t think the future is very promising [for WiMax]. This is a classic example of industry standards clashing, and somebody comes out as the winner and somebody has to lose. Betamax was there for a long time, but VHS dominated the market. I see exactly the same thing happening here,” Nokia’s Anssi Vanjoki told to The Financial Times.

He went on, adding: “It’s my prediction that by 2015, we will have an LTE network that will cover most of the important places in the world and that will give us the coverage and capacity we need.”

To be fair, I can understand Nokia’s decision to pull off from the WiMAX market. At some point, it seemed as an ideal move to grab the slice of the U.S. market share by partnering with Sprint. However, as Sprint struggled to launch its network on time, the idea failed. In that sense, it seems as a better strategy to prepare for the upcoming LTE revolution…

[Via: FT]

  • Douglas

    This is completely wrong. Wimax is here now and LTE is many years away. In no way, shape or form will LTE take the market lead of Wimax. The LTE camp can’t agree on many things and they will lose out on the money being spent by large build outs in the next two to three years.

  • Luis

    I don’t agree with the article either. Everybody is lining up, and taking sides in this matter. I know AT&T for a fact is beefing up WI-FI coverage to “SUPPRESS WIMAX”. In November of 2008, AT&T acquired a venture-backed Wi-Fi provider, Wayport. The deal was approximately $275 million. It extended WI-FI’s footprint to more 10,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the United States.
    In addition, I am sure everyone knows about T-mobile’s suit against Starbucks for AT&T’s WI-FI takeover. SERIOUS money is being spent here to squash WIMAX, because the technology is effective, and I am convinced it will compete well with LTE. I suspect that the WIMAX service might not be on par with LTE, but it will be comparable in quality and service: I have no doubt. The monthly charges I imagine are likely to be less expensive as well. I am siding with the underdog here. I believe there is lots of upside for WIMAX. I also think Nokia is comparing apples with oranges. You are using , “Betamax” as a marker for this discussion on the future of WIMAX. WIMAX is a sophisticated, legitimate 4G network. I guarantee Nokia will be back on board the WIMAX train when it actually has the subscribers everyone is expecting. LTE and WIMAX will live happily ever after together, until we get laser internet 10G technology. Joke.

  • Mario

    I bet you once iPhone is available worldwide, Nokia will really suffer. But their strategy has no teeth,
    because they feel that by selling maximum number of cheap handsets in the world they can dictate what technology
    people will buy. Unfortunately, the mobile internet is less about conventional cheap handsets, but more about
    smart phones (where Nokia is a laggard) and Laptops and Netbooks where they are nobody.

    So Nokia instead of embracing disruptive technologies like WiMAX seems to play the Verizon card of downplaying it.
    But the superior performance of WiMAX that 4-5 times faster than HSPA today is something they cannot deny. So trying
    to say a technology like LTE that is not even baked and that will not be in the market with global interoperable
    capabilities till 2015, is going to dominate is quite far fetched.

    BTW, today LTE proponents claim performance numbers with 20MHz channels, not to mention not a single operator
    has that many 20MHz carriers to deploy the technology. Now the best they can hope for is 10MHz channels, in which the
    performance will be equivalent to WiMAX and then reality hits. All the performance advantages of LTE over WiMAX
    will vanish!

    So Nokia is just not a credible company anymore.

  • David

    AT&T has already committed to LTE and has started trials in Chicago and other key markets. The wifi purchase is strictly to support the iPhone. Wifi is also available in most Schools and hotels, as well as many major cities. So the purchase of more wifi is designed to make the data seemless. A smart move for AT&T short term, until LTE grows over the next 5 years, which at that time it will be LTE primary, with wifi back up. As for Sprint…they are done along with WiMAX in the US.

    Life goes on….

Back to top ▴