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A variety of devices from a range of manufacturers is already available to those wanting to add mobile WiMax functionality to their offices and computers; although none of them, of course, will be much use in the UK unless spectrum goes to a mobile WiMax provider in next year's auction.
It remains unclear who will bid for spectrum for mobile WiMax usage. Nortel has invested around $100m (£50m) into the push for mobile WiMax, but it will not buy spectrum for itself. It may, however, "invest a certain amount of resources to stimulate the market", according to Gerry Collins.
Collins pointed out that Nortel has in the past been burned through its heavy investment in 3G — it sold its 3G basestation business to Alcatel-Lucent last year because "usage of networks was not coming to the level where they were requiring significant upgrades" — but it retains patents in both WiMax and LTE. However, he also suggested that, because LTE's standards are only likely to be ratified next year, it would fall behind mobile WiMax, which (auction results permitting) could be fully established in the UK by the end of 2008.
"The momentum in the WiMax market continues to increase, and with that the chipset industry is starting to invest more," said Collins, adding that this investment affects production cycles and "might even delay LTE".