Deutsche Telekom Won't Deploy WiMAX in Germany

It had been generally assumed since March of last year that a wireless broadband network that Telekom was building for its native Germany, would employ WiMAX technology, of the flavor being developed by Intel. But last week, the German press noticed that Telekom wasn’t accepting the German government’s invitation to bid on licenses to use WiMAX frequencies.

Late last week, the parent company of US telecom carrier T-Mobile confirmed to reporters that it is not really interested in developing WiMAX, and that it would prefer to use “other technologies” to extend wireless broadband service to rural areas, especially within Germany’s mountainous terrains.

It isn’t clear yet, even to the country’s own telecom analysts, just what technology that will be.

And with only one company, Deutsche Breitband Dienste, now in the bidding for critical WiMAX spectrum -– and standing to make a killing on that bid –- companies such as Intel that are investing as much as $1 billion on the new technology, are now wondering whether they’ll get their money’s worth.

The safe bet for Telekom’s alternative selection is HSDPA, which is supported by more European standards bodies and suppliers, although Nokia has equally large investments in both HDSPA and WiMAX. Last year, it seemed Telekom was headed the direction of HSDPA, though its tentativeness in recent months has led to concern.

Still, what is being perceived as a pullout from a technology that the company wasn’t really all that firmly in to begin with, is seen as a loss for Intel. With the US-based chipmaker now making an investment in WiMAX’s only proponent on the record in Germany, it now faces an even more uphill battle to prove the technology’s legitimacy in Europe.

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