Flarion faces Finnish delay
Alternative wireless infrastructure vendor Flarion Technologies has received a blow to the timely deployment of its first commercial Flash-OFDM network in Europe.
In June Flarion announced it had been selected as the equipment provider for a nationwide 450MHz network launch in Finland (see Flarion Wins in Finland ). Seven carriers had entered a regional beauty contest for the award of a 450MHz license. Digita Oy, the winning entrant, was one of five candidates that expressed an intent to deploy Flarion’s Flash-OFDM technology. The other two carriers -- Cubio Networks Oy and Nordisk Mobiltelefon AB -- were committed to a rival CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) technology (see Finnish Carriers Bid for 450 License).
Two months on and Cubio and NMT are refusing to accept defeat. Both companies have appealed the decision, a move that could seriously jeopardize the short-term deployment of Flarion’s network.
“Digita cannot start building the network until the Supreme Court has made a decision,” says Antti Kohtala, divisional director for networks and competition at Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications.
Kohtala admits that a worst-case scenario would see the process take “one or two years” to resolve, with all seven bidders having to resubmit their applications. “That’s one of the reasons why we didn’t put much emphasis on how much network the entrants had to build this year."
WiMAX Forum is not amused As 802.16 equipment and silicon suppliers eagerly talk up their involvement in WiMax testing currently underway in Spain, it seems that one party in particular is less than impressed with the recent marketing blitz.
According to several sources, the WiMAX Forum has been angered by the amount of vendor publicity generated by the testing process (see WiMax Lab Opens Its Doors). Unstrung understands that companies submitting products were tied to a strict NDA policy governing promotion of their involvement.
To date, 802.16 equipment vendors Aperto Networks and Airspan Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: AIRN) have touted their inclusion in the tests, as have silicon suppliers Sequans Communications and Wavesat Wireless Inc. (See Aperto Preps WiMax Certification, Airspan Submits WiMax Kit, Sequans Preps for WiMax Certification, and Wavesat Helps WiMax Test.)
“The Forum’s not happy at all,” says one source.
The WiMAX Forum had not responded to a request for comment by press time.
France preps for WiMax
While we’re on the subject of HyperMax, France has become the latest European country to turn its attention to the 802.16 standard.
The country’s telecommunications regulator, ARCEP, has announced its intention to launch a beauty contest for the award of WiMax licenses in the 3.4–3.6GHz band. The procedure kicks off in October and will involve the award of up to two licenses in each of the country’s 22 official metro regions.
A number of carriers and service providers have already trialed "pre-WiMax" [ed. note: anything like "non-Wimax"?] kit in the country, including the likes of France Telecom SA (NYSE: FTE) and newcomer Altitude Telecom. (See Alcatel, RTE Trial WiMax, Intel, Orange Trial WiMax, France Telecom Trials 802.16, and Altitude Telecom Maxes on Voice.)
— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung