Optical/IP Networks

Flarion Finds Finnish Friend

Alternative wireless infrastructure vendor Flarion Technologies has found an ally in Northern Europe, with Finnish service provider Saunalahti Group Oyj announcing it will deploy Flash-OFDM technology if it wins a license to deploy services in the 450Mhz spectrum band.

Saunalahti is one of seven companies to have entered a regional "beauty contest" for the award of a 450MHz license (see Finnish Carriers Bid for 450 License). The carrier is currently a mobile virtual network operator, leasing spectrum from Elisa Corp. and TeliaSonera AB (Nasdaq: TLSN), and also operates its own fixed-ADSL network.

The 450MHz license is expected to be awarded in “mid-June,” according to Antti Kohtala, divisional director for networks and competition at Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications. “The license is mainly for fast data services. Voice is not so important, as there are already many voice networks in Finland.”

Despite the long odds, Saunalahti is keen to talk up its chances of success. The carrier has set aside €30 million (US$38.4 million) for potential deployment of Flarion’s Flash-OFDM kit in the next two years, “covering sparsely populated areas in Finland.” (See Saunalahti Eyes Flash-OFDM.)

“During the first year, it is estimated that there would be over 200 base stations in the new mobile network in such areas where it would not otherwise be possible to obtain broadband services,” notes a company statement. “One base station can cover an area of over 30 kilometres... The company estimates that the new broadband network will provide versatile services for 150,000 users in the future.”

“Our CEO feels fairly confident,” a spokeswoman at Saunalahti tells Unstrung.

Flarion is keeping its fingers crossed for a Saunalahti win. “We have proposed our technology and they will make a choice,” says EMEA marketing director, Joe Barrett.

The vendor is yet to announce a European win following an earlier partnership with Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) in the 450MHz band, although scuttlebutt suggests a deal with EuroTel Bratislava a.s. has already been inked (see Flarion Flashes With Siemens and Flarion, Siemens in at Eurotel).

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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