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June 20, 2005

T-Mobile to Launch IPWireless, Flarion Could Win in Finland

By Nancy Gohring

T-Mobile said it is launching a network in the Czech Republic using gear from IPWireless: Customers will be able to use combined EDGE/IPWireless PCMCIA cards for wireless data access. The network is expected to cover Prague by the end of the year, followed by the rest of the country. T-Mobile says that just two percent of the market has broadband access, so if the price is right this could make a good option. The companies say that an average user would get 512 Kbps downlink.

This is a coup for IPWireless for a couple of reasons. T-Mobile is an investor in IPWireless rival Flarion and has tried the Flarion technology in the Netherlands. In many countries (I’m not sure about the Czech Republic), operators are allowed to deploy IPWireless’ technology in the cellular frequencies but they aren’t allowed to deploy Flarion’s technology. But this is also significant because T-Mobile is a major European operator so it lends some legitimacy to IPWireless.

T-Mobile will be using the 1.9 GHz band in Prague but the oddball 872 MHz band outside of the city. Typically, the lower bands have further range but can carry less data.

In other European wireless data network news, Flarion is in a good position to win some business in Finland. Finland is about to distribute some licenses in the 450 MHz band. Flarion has developed equipment for the band and five of the seven spectrum bidders say they’d use Flarion’s gear. The other two say they’d opt for CDMA-based equipment. [link via Wispcentric]

Last year, Wireless Week ran an informative piece about the 450 MHz band in Europe, specifically looking at the potential for CDMA in the band. It’s good background reading for anyone not familiar with what’s happening in the 450 MHz band in Europe.

While many of these announcements involve unusual spectrum bands, generally, the more mobile broadband networks that get launched in the next couple of years, the more competition mobile WiMax will have when it becomes available.

Posted by nancyg at June 20, 2005 6:45 AM


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