MIRS mulls jump from WiMAX to UMTS

MIRS: Communications Ministry delays in the WiMAX tender has rendered WiMAX unfeasible for the company.

MIRS Communications Ltd. is considering abandoning WiMAX in favor of a UMTS 3G network. MIRS is owned by Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT).

Some time ago, Motorola Israel president and MIRS chairman Elisha Yanai told "Globes" that he no longer saw the WiMAX model fitting in with MIRS's expansion plans. At a meeting a few weeks ago, MIRS executives hinted to Ministry of Communications officials that the company was seriously considering switching to a 3G UMTS network, used by Israel's other cellular operators. They cited the ministry's inability to publish a WiMAX policy on time and the subsequent incessant delays, which raised doubts about the feasibility of setting up a WiMAX network in Israel.

MIRS faces major problems about its technological future because the delays in the WiMAX tender completely disrupted the company's plans to set up a WiMAX network. The company hoped to obtain WiMAX frequencies, which would give a technological edge over its larger cellular rivals by offering subscribers faster speeds.

MIRS promoted WiMAX and lobbied for WiMAX for many years.

However, the Ministry of Communications' delays gave the cellular operators time to speed up their own services using cellular IP, thereby closing MIRS' window of opportunity ahead of the introduction of 4G in 2011-12.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 1, 2009

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2009

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