HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia NOK1V.HE expects to start selling mobile devices using WiMAX Internet technology in early 2008, the world’s top handset maker said on Monday.
WiMAX allows very high-speed Internet access from laptops, phones or other mobile devices over greater distances than previous technologies.
Nokia’s closest rival in the handset market, U.S. based Motorola MOT.N, also plans to bring its first WiMAX enabled mobile phone to the market in 2008.
Intel (INTC.O), Nokia, Samsung (005930.KS) and Motorola all support the open-standard WiMAX as an alternative wireless broadband Internet connection alongside third generation mobile telephony networks, on which Internet access can be slowed if networks fill up with voice callers.
“Nokia plans to bring its first WiMAX enabled mobile device to market in early 2008,” Nokia said in a statement.
WiMAX will make wireless broadband much cheaper to deliver — up to 10 times cheaper than current third-generation cellular telephony networks. But, while it provides fast Internet access, it is not very well suited for wireless voice calls.
The radio spectrum for WiMAX networks is rented out by regulators at more affordable prices than for 3G mobile phone spectrum, and WiMAX equipment vendors claim the infrastructure and handheld devices will be cheaper than 3G systems.