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Nokia Plans LTE Devices for 2010

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A Nokia (s NOK) executive said today that the company has committed to LTE as its preferred network for devices, and plans to launch devices for those networks in 2010. James Harper, senior manager of technology marketing at Nokia, speaking at a PCCA meeting held in Grapevine, Texas, declined to detail what type of devices the handset maker would launch, but said they would be data intensive.

Perhaps we should expect that Nokia laptop, or something similar to the tablet Nokia pulled for the Clear WiMAX network this year. Harper also declined to say which carrier would carry such devices, which makes sense, given that it’s still early days for deployments of LTE networks. Just one or two carriers are planning network deployments by next year.

Harper also sold WiMAX up the river, with more than half of the slides in his presentation detailing how and why LTE is the “preferred mobile broadband technology after HSPA.” Harper said the backwards compatibility and lack of a clear road map forward were the primary drawbacks to WiMAX.

“WiMAX has some place in the market, but we do believe it’s a niche play,” Harper says. That’s bad news for Clearwire (s CLWR) and Sprint (s S), which combined their spectrum last year to develop a WiMAX network. But he could be on to something, as that network seems to have stalled.


33 Responses to “Nokia Plans LTE Devices for 2010”

  1. mark robson

    So this is what Nokia uses the WiMAX Forum Board seat for. Dissing WiMAX :(. Nice company. Nobody should trust these guys. They say one thing while they mean something else.

    I think Nokia and 3G guys are seriously threatened by WiMAX. So no wonder they are forced to stoop so low with such comments.

  2. Can we anticipate this to fail as badly as 3g did?

    As to what seems like a picture which should have remained internal to that company… I wonder why it is so much ignorant of other de-facto mobile standard data technologies which *are* a reality today and which are cash-generators! In the current situation, the hype around a technology which is not going to generate any single profit before, how long, a decade? more? is not really relevant.

  3. harri posti


    Having supervised the creation of Nokia Wide Area Access strategy, I can say yes, Jim’s message is accurately reflecting the strategy and implementation plans. Jim was also a member of the strategy Core Team.

  4. Ronald G

    It would be nice if the acronyms were “defined” for people, like me, who follow threads because of specifics like anything about the N97, but who are not “adept” at acronymology! WHAT IS LTE? I was taught to ALWAYS insert the “meaning” of an acronym at the “first” use of it, then it could be successfully used throughout the written piece. Have I missed something here?

  5. Jesse Kopelman

    @ Martin Suter

    The WiMAX business case was cheap user devices. Thanks to huge initial competition in the SoC side, they had those out and working over a year ago. The issue was carriers in major markets not getting their networks rolled out in time. If Nextel hadn’t blown up in Sprint’s face shortly followed by the collapse of the credit markets both Sprint and Clearwire depend on for their buildouts, we would have had major WiMAX rollouts in the US last year and the whole global balance of power between LTE and WiMAX would be quite different. Back in early 2008 Nortel, Nokia, and ALU were still committed to heavy WiMAX support. It wasn’t until their biggest apparent initial customer, Sprint, started to fall by the wayside that they changed their tune.

  6. So how is a “senior product manager” a Nokia “executive?” So we should belive a guy in GRAPEVINE Texas at a GSM/cellular focused event speaks on behalf of Nokia’s entire wireless strategy? Please. More FUD.

  7. LTE and WiMAX are both based on OFDMA technologies. There is about an 80% reuse between WiMAX and LTE. The issue the industry needs to address is meeting consumer expectations for fast mobile internet and not being myopic and missing the market because of religious technology wars.
    The backward compatibility argument is flawed for both the infrastructure and devices. On infrastructure both LTE and WiMAX require an IP core with flat architecture, meaning that existing operators must install a new core and learn to manage a mixed network. This is not an easy task and is played down by most network vendors. The mixed network could be either LTE or WiMAX.
    The opportunity for a green field operator to get ahead of the pack and create a data only WiMAX network with multimode devices with cheaper spectrum and have roaming arrangements with cellular operators still exists.
    At MWC in Barcelona the announcements by small innovative players of multi mode WiMAX and GSM devices shows that the pace of WiMAX is now beyond the hype and into real deployment and working on the issue of delivering real mobile internet.
    LTE handheld devices will also have to be multi standard and frequency and will be expensive and complex initially. The good thing is that those vendors that work on WiMAX get a head start on learning about developing products and solutions for the mobile internet market.

  8. Martin Suter

    WiMAX has been doomed from outset. It’s been a standard in search of a market/business case since Day 1. 802.11 got out early, rode the cost curve down, iterated on new features and achieved ubiquity. The 3GPP and handset vendors were forced to embrace an IEEE standard, but there was no way they were going to let WiMAX trump LTE. No devices = no business case for widespread deployment.

    Next big question mark is how quickly LTE is rolled out. The global chipset projections I recall seeing recently were in the ~40m chips/year (globally) by 2013. Hardly nothing, but still a small fraction of the total number of devices that ship annually, which in the same time frame should all support dual-mode Wi-Fi!

    RIP WiMAX. We barely knew you.

  9. I am looking forward to seeing what a Nokia laptop might be like. I have always lusted in my heart for a Communicator. Some have said that the new N97 is a replacement for the mighty brick but it is not, not even close. A laptop with the build quality of an E71 would be a desirable piece indeed. I just hope they don’t try to do a tablet which is not even a phone, been there, didn’t buy that.

    • Stacey Higginbotham

      Mac, check back tomorrow, as the guys I need to ask are in the air right now. I’ll see if I can upload the slides. If I can I will provide a link or upload them at the bottom of the post.