Last year Nortel sold its optical networking and carrier ethernet business to Ciena for US$769 million and its wireless business to Ericsson for $1.3 billion. Soon it will sell off its patents as well, “among them some thought to be essential 4G wireless technologies like Long Term Evolution (LTE) and Service Architecture Evolution (SAE),” reports “All Things Digital” (

That IP is drawing a lot of interest from companies such as Apple, Research in Motion and Nokia, “none of which want to see it in the hands of a rival, particularly as 4G’s commercial availability broadens,” the article adds. “All Things D,” quoted unnamed sources, say all four companies are participating in the auction.

Nortel ( was founded in 1895 as Northern Electric and Manufacturing, supplying telecommunications equipment for Canada’s fledgling telephone system. It grew to become, at one point, a global leader in delivering communications capabilities. However, “these days it’s little more than an estate sale, a now-bankrupt company auctioning off the valuables of a fallen titan,” says “All Things D.”