Nortel, the beleaguered Canadian telecom supplier sheltering in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, has severed its WiMAX partnership with Alvarion. In doing so, Nortel’s interest in WiMAX comes to an end. 

“We are taking rapid action to narrow our strategic focus to areas where we can drive maximum return on investment,” Richard Lowe, president of Nortel’s carrier networks business, said in a statement.

Alvarion, an Israel-headquartered supplier of WiMAX RAN kit, entered into a partnership with Nortel in June 2008. Under the terms of the arrangement, Nortel was to channel R&D funding (the amount of which was not disclosed) to Alvarion in order to accelerate WiMAX base station development and increase economies of scale. Nortel was still able to resell Alvarion base stations under the terms of the partnership, but Alvarion was also able to offer customers an end-to-end WiMAX solution using Nortel ASN gateways and CSN (connectivity service network) systems.

With the closure of the Nortel partnership, Alvarion’s ability to penetrate the North American market is weakened. Nortel says it will work closely with Alvarion, however, to transition its mobile WiMAX customers to help ensure that ongoing support commitments are met without interruption.  “Our priority is to minimise the effect on customers,” said Tzvika Friedman, president and CEO, in a prepared statement. “We will work closely with Nortel to ensure that the transition will be as smooth as possible.