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Motorola Hits Rural WiMAX

Making a 4G move before exiting the business altogether, Motorola Inc. said it will use Eden Rock Communications for its end-to-end (E2E) WiMAX services targeted at small operators in rural (low teledensity,” in marketing speak) areas. Eden Rock will provide system engineering, integration and testing services for the E2E WiMAX network.

The choice comes weeks after Motorola said it will sell off its network infrastructure business, including WiMAX, to gear vendor Nokia Siemens Networks.

Broadband stimulus funding in the United States has targeted lightly populated regions that are typically unprofitable for big carriers to serve, but many remain underserved. Motorola says the ESE system will offer cost savings to make such networks viable for small local and regional providers.

The Eden Rock partnership provides such operators with “their own virtual 4G technology team,'” said Eden Rock CEO Chaz Immendorf, giving them support resources comparable to large carriers.

Nokia Siemens Networks said in July that it will acquire Motorolas wireless infrastructure business for $1.2 billion, effectively taking Motorola out of the carrier networks business for all but iDEN systems and patent licensing.

Saying it intends to sharpen its focus,” Motorola plans to split into two independently traded companies in early 2011 Motorola Mobility, the connected home and wireless device business, and Motorola Solutions, which will be a pure-play infrastructure business aimed at government, public safety and enterprises. The network infrastructure doesnt belong with mobile business,” explained co-CEO Greg Brown in announcing the NSN deal.

Motorola, which stumbled badly two years ago when its mobile device business seemed hamstrung, has rallied in 2010 as its Droid devices, based on the Android mobile OS from Google, have proven very popular with consumers. The highly anticipated Droid 2 is expected out from Verizon Wireless in the next two weeks.

Motorolas share price has rallied sharply, gaining 15 percent in the last month.


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