Nortel is saying goodbye to its mobile WiMAX business and jumping headfirst on the Long Term Evolution (LTE) train.

The company is working with Alvarion to transition its joint mobile WiMAX customers to Alvarion. Nortel is not exiting the fixed WiMAX space.

Nortel employs about 500 people to support mobile WiMAX, according to spokesman Ryan Hill, and it’s not clear how many of them might end up at Alvarion. The two companies combined efforts last year to integrate Alvarion’s radio access technology with Nortel’s core network and backhaul solutions.

Their agreement also covered Nortel’s resale of the Alvarion platform for WiMAX access points, and Alvarion will not be able to recognize about $2.4 million of revenues in the fourth quarter due to Nortel’s exit. That will bring Alvarion’s earnings per share down by about 4 cents for the quarter.

Nortel, which is going through Chapter 11 proceedings, sees LTE surfacing as the technology of choice for most operators worldwide, Hill said. Nortel is in trials with Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile International, and it won a contract with Hitachi to provide LTE core technology to KDDI in Japan.

As recently as December, a Nortel representative said the company had a lot of vested interest in making the partnership work with Alvarion. At the time, the two companies had close to 50 projects in the works.

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