Arieso Shouts Off

Network optimization startup Arieso Ltd. has been talking up its potential to cut the cost of 3G network rollout by as much as 30 percent, a grandiose claim it hopes will help secure a long-awaited first customer win (see Arieso Touts Kit).

Founded in August 2002, the U.K.-based company says its software kit -- dubbed Ariesopt -- can increase the performance of a carrier’s W-CDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) network and reduce the number of base station sites needed for operation.

Such claims stem from the result of trials with Hutchison 3G UK Ltd., mmO2 plc, Orange UK (London: OGE), and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), reveals Arieso’s chairman, Mike Pinches. “We’ve been involved in trials with all the U.K. operators except T-Mobile.” Further trials have involved carriers in “Germany, France, and Italy.”

Despite an impressive list of trial customers, the startup is yet to win a commercial deal in its efforts to battle larger market rivals such as Radioplan GmbH and Schema Ltd. (see Arieso vs Goliath).

“It’s proving more difficult than we hoped,” admits Pinches. “If I was running a 3G service or seriously trying to launch one, I’d see this as a complete no-brainer of an investment.”

Pinches expects operators to “make orders before Christmas or spring next year,” adding that “one of the U.K. operators has confirmed that our product came top of their evaluation on every count.”

Earlier this year the company scored a small $2.6 million VC investment from Add Partners and Top Technology Ventures (see Arieso Secures $2.6M).

The W-CDMA air interface is part of the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) standard. Used with existing Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) core networks, W-CDMA-compliant handsets and base stations can increase wireless data transfer rates to a realistic level of around 200 kbit/s to 300 kbit/s.

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung
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