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Nokia to rejoin WiMAX Forum

Founder member comes home

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Nokia is once again a member of the WiMAX Forum, having quit the organisation just over a month ago.

It's reason for returning to the fold? Everyone else is getting involved, so Nokia feels it has to play too.

Nokia's move to leave the Forum, made in early May, was something of a U-turn in its own right. As one of the Forum's founding members, Nokia has long promoted WiMAX with much enthusiasm. Intel's arrival and high-profile promotion of the technology seems to have been accompanied by a toning down of Nokia's own support.

At last it said it would not renew its membership, preferring instead to focus on 802.11 and 3G rather than 802.16.

A unnamed Forum member cited by Techworld claimed that Nokia had effectively been a silent partner for some time, and only left when it did because its membership subscription had naturally run its course.

Nokia's second U-turn, revealed earlier this week at the company's Connections conference, comes without a comparable shift of strategy. It still believes its short-term goals are best served though Wi-Fi and 3G, but it now accepts it can't ignore WiMAX given the support the technology is getting from other major telecoms industry players.

"The decision [to quit the Forum] was perhaps made too much on a practical basis rather than with regard to what the rest of the world is doing," Nokia's networking group general manager Sari Baldauf told reporters this week.

The company also pointed to the momentum building behind the mobile version of the standard, 802.16e, but that remains a longer-term technology. ®

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