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Nokia Siemens to Sell WiMax Business to NewNet

Nokia Siemens Networks plans to sell its WiMax infrastructure business to NewNet Communication Technologies for an undisclosed sum.

NSN bought the business in July 2010 as part of its US$1.2 billion acquisition of most of Motorola's wireless network equipment unit. The loss-making company has been downsizing as it attempts to compete against rivals including Ericsson and Huawei. Last week, NSN announced it will lay off 17,000 employees worldwide, and on Nov. 4 it agreed to sell its microwave transport business to DragonWave.

NewNet, based in Shelton, Connecticut, sells signaling, messaging and media delivery systems for mobile operators. It is owned by Skyview Capital, a private investment firm.

NewNet will acquire the entire product portfolio and all active customer and supplier contracts. The companies expect to transfer about 300 NSN employees, most of them based in suburban Chicago or Hangzhou, China, to NewNet. The deal is expected to close by the end of this year.

WiMax has been overshadowed by LTE (Long-Term Evolution) as a 4G mobile platform but is still used by many carriers, including Clearwire and Sprint Nextel in the U.S. and mobile operators in South Korea, Japan and China. It is also used for fixed wireless broadband, especially in areas of the world where wired broadband is lacking.

Nokia Siemens was formed more than four years ago as a joint venture between Finland's Nokia and Germany's Siemens. It is attempting to cut €1 billion (US$1.35 billion) from its annual costs by the end of 2013.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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