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Flarion Greets Aloha

Alternative wireless broadband startup Flarion Technologies has added another name to its list of Flash-OFDM market trials, announcing a deal with U.S. startup carrier Aloha Partners (see Aloha Trials Flarion).

OFDM, which stands for Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing, 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.

Aloha claims to be the largest owner of licensed 700MHz spectrum in the U.S. The service provider has spent over $45 million on 166 cellular licences in an effort to provide wireless broadband services to a potential subscriber base of 140 million people. It is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island.

Aloha is to launch a market trial of Flarion's Flash-OFDM equipment in the second quarter of 2005, targeting rural homes and public-safety projects. "The most likely city for the first market launch is Tucson, Arizona," comments Flarion's VP of global communications and marketing, Ronny Haraldsvik.

Further details were not forthcoming. "Details haven't been finalized, but it will certainly be more than just one or two base stations," says Flarion's EMEA marketing director, Joe Barrett.

According to the area's visitor bureau, "Tucson (TOO-sahn) is a growing metropolis of 800,000," covering "nearly 500 square miles."

And while we're on the subject, "the landscape mixes flowering desert, rolling hills, winding dry riverbeds, rugged canyons, and pine-topped peaks – all beneath an expansive clear, blue sky." [Ed. note: A bit like New York, then?]

Flarion has previously announced trials with Hanaro Telecom Inc., KT Corp., Nextel Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: NXTL), SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM), Telstra Corp., T-Mobile International AG, and Vodafone K.K. (see Flarion Doubles Down in Korea, KT Joins the Flash-OFDM Band, Nextel Steps Up Data Race, Flarion Cookin' Up Seoul Food, Flarion Confirms Telstra Trial, T-Mobile Flashes Flarion Trial, and Flarion Wins Voodoo Trial).

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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