Earlier this month, Nokia quietly discontinued production of its N810 WiMAX Edition internet tablet and recalled unsold units from distribution partners. The move was a big one where Sprint and Clearwire are concerned as despite slow sales, the N810 WiMAX Edition was one of the most widely available mobile devices beyond laptop cards to tout WiMAX compatibility. While Clearwire continues to push forward with its WiMAX roll out, another blow came Thursday from Nortel as the company announced it would be discontinuing its mobile WiMAX business and ending its agreement with Alvarion Ltd. Richard Lowe, President of Carrier Networks at Nortel had this to say:
We are taking rapid action to narrow our strategic focus to areas where we can drive maximum return on investment. We will work closely with Alvarion to transition our mobile WiMAX customers to them and assure customers that they will continue to benefit from leading-edge technology and high-quality service. Our continued success in the wireless business requires us to focus our energy on opportunities with long-standing customers. This will position Nortel more effectively to capitalize on future resurgence of carrier spend levels and drive value to the business.
The move is hardly a surprising one – Nortel recently turned the page on a poor 2008 and is scrambling along with the rest of the corporate world to stay afloat during harsh economic times. Shedding its WiMAX business is a step that will help the company reduce costs and focus on business with a more immediate return. As for Alvarion and its WiMAX customers, the company is working overtime to ensure the negative impact is minimal.