BT Confirms WiMax Ambitions

Domestic reports out of the U.K. confirm what Unstrung readers already knew. BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) looks set to re-enter the mobile market using WiMax or similar wireless broadband technology.

Back in October, we reported that BT was plotting to bid on a wireless broadband spectrum auction in the in the 2.5GHz to 2.69GHz band in order to offer a new mobile services using WiMax. (See BT to Go WiMax?.) Now the London newspaper The Independent confirms that BT is ready to bid on the WiMax bandwidth.

"We are naturally interested in the potential of this spectrum and we continue to assess its possible uses, including the possibility of WiMax," a BT spokesperson tells the paper.

British regulatory body Ofcom is due to open up spectrum in the 2.5GHz to 2.69GHz band in January 2008. Auctions are expected to be held early in 2007.

Our original sources suggested that the U.K. fixed-line operator will add to its existing "Fusion" fixed/mobile convergence service, which currently combines WiFi and cellular, by buying up the spectrum for mobile WiMax services and combining that with GSM cellular services.

The operator, which exited the cellular market five years ago with the spin-off of Telefónica Europe plc (O2) , now needs to ramp up its wireless offerings again in order to compete with operators such as Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and the proliferation of "triple-play" offers in the U.K.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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