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WiMAX Demand - Alcatel

Alcatel Says WiMAX Demand Outpacing 3G In Some Areas

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel SA (ALA) said Wednesday that demand for WiMAX infrastructure is outpacing demand for UMTS infrastructure, though its popularity varies among regions.

The WiMAX, or Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, and UMTS, or Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, technologies offer faster wireless connections than conventional mobile networks.

Speaking at the Financial Times World Mobile Telecommunications conference here, Alcatel Chief Operating Officer Marc Rouanne said demand for WiMAX technology, which proponents hope will accelerate the spread of high-speed Internet access, is prevalent in Latin America, Russia, and India, but not in Western Europe, where 3G technology is still the focus.

There is little demand for WiMAX infrastructure in China, Rouanne added.

WiMAX is targeted initially at replacing stationary fixed-line connections, but it is also expected in the future to gain popularity for the mobile use of laptop computers, competing with 3G technology.

The technology was given a boost in April when Intel Corp. (INTC) launched its first communications chip that uses WiMAX. However, it isn't expected to be ready for mobile use for two years or more.

Alcatel is a telecommunications equipment maker. It generates most of its revenue from fixed-line equipment, although it is seeking to build its presence in mobile markets.

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