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Siemens Sticks to WiMax

Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) claims it is still on course to launch its own kit next year for the WiMax metropolitan area network (MAN) market, despite an increasingly broad OEM partnership with broadband wireless vendor Alvarion Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALVR).

An early investor in Alvarion, Siemens has resold the vendor’s kit for a number of years. “We sell through them in a bunch of different countries,” says Alvarion’s VP for marketing, Carlton O’Neal. “We are the broadband wireless access solution for Siemens.”

This partnership has been strengthened with the announcement today that Siemens is to resell Alvarion’s “pre-WiMax” kit, dubbed BreezeMAX (see Siemens Chooses Alvarion and Alvarion Breezes Into WiMax).

Such collaboration raises the question of whether Siemens will opt to work with Alvarion on the future development of WiMax products, once the standard is fully ratified. In March this year, Siemens announced plans “for a complete solution for WiMax radio networks," expected to be available in the second half of 2005 (see Siemens Plans WiMax Move).

According to Siemens spokesman Joel Guyot, today’s BreezeMAX deal has no bearing on its future WiMax plans.

“We announced our own solution at the CTIA in Atlanta in March, but this decision is not affected by the [BreezeMAX] deal,” he writes in an email note to Unstrung.

“We did this deal because 802.16d was only decided upon in June 2004 and 802.16e will probably only be defined in mid-2005, and we felt that it will be necessary to demonstrate WiMax capabilities with ‘pre-standard’ solutions. With BreezeMAX we offer our customers the possibility to test WiMax right away. Our own solution, which should come to market by the end of 2005, will then conform to both standards.”

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung


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