Optical/IP Networks

Flarion in Tryst With T-Mobile?

Alternative wireless broadband startup Flarion Technologies has strengthened speculation it is engaged in a major Flash-OFDM trial in Europe.

Industry scuttlebutt has long suggested that the vendor’s cash injection nearly twelve months ago from T-Mobile Venture Fund was a prelude to a likely trial with one of the carrier’s European subsidiaries (see Flarion Hushes on Slush Fund).

Flarion itself remains tight-lipped on the possibility of such a deal but the company says that it expects some Euro action soon. “European [trial] news is likely this year,” Flarion’s VP of global marketing and communications, Ronny Haraldsvik, tells Unstrung.

But Analysts believe T-Mobile is top of the carrier candidate list for any future European trial announcement. “If I was a gambling man I’d put my money on T-Mobile,” says Gartner Inc.’s Jason Chapman. “It seems the most likely choice.”

A T-Mobile deal would be Flarion’s sixth publicly announced trial deployment, following rollouts with Nextel Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: NXTL), Vodafone K.K., KT Corp., Hanaro Telecom Inc., and SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM). (See Nextel Steps Up Data Race, Flarion Wins Voodoo Trial, KT Joins the Flash-OFDM Band, Flarion Doubles Down in Korea, and Flarion Cookin' Up Seoul Food.)

T-Mobile was unable to comment by press time.

OFDM is a modulation scheme that can support an average data rate of around 1.5 Mbit/s for users in a standard, PCS-sized cell site, while using only 1.25 MHz of spectrum. This makes it approximately four or five times more spectrally efficient than comparable 3G technologies, such as CDMA2000 or UMTS -- and cheaper to implement. [Ed. note: Does it remove ground-in stains, too?]

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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