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Wi-LAN Eyes WiMax

Light Reading
LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading
5/17/2005
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Broadband wireless vendor Wi-LAN Inc. (Toronto: WIN) is now expecting to deliver its first certified WiMax products in 2006, but says that its silicon partner Fujitsu Ltd. (OTC: FJTSY; Tokyo: 6702) already has chips built to the initial 802.16-2004 fixed wireless specification (see Fujitsu Goes WiMax Nuts).

Like other vendors, Wi-LAN originally said it would have WiMax product out earlier, but it's now anticipating that it will have WiMax "Libra MAX" boxes out in the first quarter of 2006 (see Wi-LAN Talks Up Recovery). The first product will be a 3.5GHz box for Asian, European, and other international markets, while Wi-LAN hopes to introduce a 5GHz box for the U.S. market in the first half of 2006.

"There is a potential for a 2.5GHz radio," says company spokesman Ken Wetherall. "We're keeping an eye on the viability for the U.S. market."

While it waits for WiMax, Wi-Lan is pushing the upgradeability of its Libra MX fixed-wireless box. Operators can buy the MX products and then add WiMax cards once the products are certified by the WiMax Forum.

Of course, the bigger issue for the firm is probably getting itself out of the financial and managerial difficulties it has found itself in of late. "We are working to achieve cashflow-positive status," says John Seliga, VP of marketing, adding that the sale of the firm's HQ has helped and the firm may sell other non-essential assets.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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