Cisco to unveil alliance Monday for WiMax stimulation

By Matt Hamblen, Computerworld |  Mobile & Wireless

Cisco Systems will join Clearwire Corp., Sprint
Nextel Corp.
and three WiMax equipment providers on Monday to announce an
initiative aimed at simulating WiMax innovation through the sharing of WiMax
patents.

The group behind the initiative includes Alcatel-Lucent, Intel
Corp.
and Samsung, according to officials at Cisco. However, several well-known
WiMax providers are not on the list, including Motorola
Corp.
, which is providing equipment for a field test of mobile WiMax services
in Chicago as part of the Xohm initiative spearheaded by Sprint.

Motorola officials, reached Friday, did not say whether they plan to join the
new alliance, but said they continually evaluate proposals they hear about regarding
patents and intellectual property associated with 4G networking gear, which
includes WiMax.

"Motorola is actively engaged in searching for improvements in the intellectual
property rights environment for 4G wireless standards," a spokeswoman said
in a statement emailed to Computerworld ." We continue to evaluate the
merits and risks associated with every proposal that we hear about and we continue
to make our own suggestions for improvements. We expect that this will be an
iterative process and we remain committed to being an active participant in
the discussion. "

Sprint and Clearwire announced
a US$14.5 billion WiMax joint venture
on May 6 that includes investments
by Intel, Google Inc. and cable providers to fund a nationwide build-out of
a WiMax network that analysts had noted is badly in need of stimulus.

The Monday announcement is also designed to stimulate WiMax technology advancements,
according analysts and others familiar with the effort.

In addition to the absence of Motorola, other companies interested in WiMax
such as equipment maker Qualcomm Inc. and Nokia, are not expected to attend
the Monday announcement.

Qualcomm would seem unlikely to join efforts to stimulate WiMax and has expressed
interest in another high speed wireless specification known as 802.20, said
Craig Mathias, an analyst at The Farpoint Group in Ashland, Mass. " Qualcomm
is not interested in making it easy for WiMax," he said.

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