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Motorola Makes WiMax Breakthrough

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) on Tuesday announced its involvement in the world's largest planned network based on fresh-out-of-the-standards-bodies WiMax technology, 802.16e, or "mobile WiMax." (See Wateen Picks Moto's WiMax, Moto Struts at WiMax World, and IEEE OKs Mobile WiMax.)

Tariq Qureshi, general manager at Pakistan's Wateen Telecom , the carrier planning the network, presented his company's plans at the WiMax World Europe event in Vienna.

After the presentation, Qureshi told Patrick Donegan, Senior Analyst at Heavy Reading, that Wateen planned to deploy Motorola's MOTOwi4 technology at 193 sites by the end of September this year, and 600 by the end of June 2007. The carrier plans to use the network to provide voice, wireless broadband, Internet access, and IP VPN services.

Donegan says this is the first planned large-scale 802.16e network, and that the project is very significant for Motorola, which has been working closely with Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) on its technology. (See The Path to MoMax.)

From a mobile networks perspective, the vendor has "bet the farm on WiMax," says the analyst, so it's very important that the company is seen to be involved in the testing and implementation of a large 802.16e deployment.

But Donegan says the project is tough, from a technology and timescale perspective. "Wateen is planning an IMS core with a new generation radio network so that's very leading edge. A big question is whether 802.16e is ready for this type of rollout. It's a relatively immature technology and any vendor would struggle to execute under these conditions," says the analyst, but by committing to such a large-scale network, Motorola has put itself in the vanguard, he adds.

It's clear also that Wateen knows the pressures Motorola will face in delivering such a new technology and delivering to the carrier's needs, as Qureshi concluded his presentation at the WiMax event with a message for the vendor: "Please don't let me down."

Motorola isn't the only major vendor targeting carriers with 802.16e technology; Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) is among Motorola's most aggressive competitors. (See Alcatel, KT Test WiMax, Alcatel Unwires Tokyo, Nokia Commits to Mobile WiMax, ZTE: Future WiMax Hero?, and Nortel Unveils Strategy .)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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