Nokia and Intel said on Friday they would step up their efforts and collaboration to make WiMAX a new standard in mobile broadband Internet access.
Intel has been the driving force behind WiMAX, touting it as the long-distance
broadband Internet sibling of Wi-Fi which it turned into a success with its
Centrino chipsets for laptops.
Interestingly, Nokia sees WiMAX demand from mobile telecoms operators, for which
the Finnish firm is already building third generation mobile phone networks
with, also, fast Web access.
"The key thing is to get the WiMAX standard ready," said Tero Ojanpera,
Nokia's chief strategy officer, adding that despite
the additional research efforts from Nokia, it will be toward the end of the
year before there is an open standard that can be used by all chip and mobile
Instead of an overlap, Nokia now believes WiMAX may be complementary to its
third generation mobile phone networks, and Nokia will make sure the WiMAX base
stations can sit peacefully alongside the cell phone base stations in radio
By coming together, the biggest chip maker and the biggest cell phone maker,
want to accelerate the development of the right, energy efficient chips for both
mobile devices as well as laptop computers, in addition to the base station
Intel, which makes more than four out of every five personal computer
processors, has been struggling to break into the cell phone market. Nokia, like
all of the other major handset vendors, is no customer of its key baseband
chips. The WiMAX agreement may contribute to Nokia warming up to Intel.
Nokia and Intel are members of the WiMAX forum, which is an industry-led
non-profit corporation formed to promote and certify compatibility and
interoperability of WiMAX.
Nokia was a founding member, but left the forum temporarily when it appeared
that WiMAX would only be a long-distance replacement for broadband Internet
cables to fixed locations, such as rural villages which could not otherwise get
It rejoined the forum last year when it emerged that a new variant of WiMAX,
dubbed 802.16e, would give consumers the opportunity to move around. The
specifications for this standard still need to be approved by the forum,
expected late this year.
The mobile version of WiMAX can be built into mobile devices such as those made
by Nokia, alongside the cellphone chipsets.
Intel, in any case, plans to build WiMAX chips into laptop chipsets, just like
it started selling Wi-Fi chips as an integrated part of its Centrino chipsets
two years ago.