The dust has barely settled on the WiMAX product development agreement struck between Alvarion and Nortel last week, but Tzvika Friedman, Alvarion’s CEO, is in no doubt that it is a landmark event for the Israel-based WiMAX base station vendor.

“We are a stronger player now and can be the number one WiMAX [supplier],” he told WiMAX-Vision.

Under the terms of the arrangement, Nortel is to channel R&D funding (the amount of which is not disclosed) to Alvarion in order to accelerate WiMAX base station development. Nortel will be able to resell Alvarion base stations, but Alvarion will be able to offer customers an end-to-end WiMAX solution using Nortel ASN gateways and CSN (connectivity service network) systems.

“The Nortel deal allows us to become more competitive in our WiMAX product offering; it brings to us additional wireless expertise, particularly in MIMO; and it will expedite product development,” says Friedman. “It will also give us extra service implementation capability to do turnkey projects, and enable us to target customers that we couldn’t reach before.”

Alvarion and Nortel are in the process of ironing out interoperability wrinkles between their respective WiMAX equipment, which, Friedman says, will be completed during Q4 2008.

The Alvarion CEO is quick to reject press reports that claimed the Canada-based supplier had quit WiMAX in favour of LTE development. “Nortel is still very committed to WiMAX as part as it 4G strategy,” says Friedman, pointing out that the joint effort on WiMAX base station development provides better economies of scale for both companies.