Flarion Unwires Amarillo

Alternative wireless broadband startup Flarion Technologies has added another name to its list of Flash-OFDM deployments, announcing a small deal with Texan GSM carrier Cellular One of Amarillo.

OFDM, which stands for Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing, is a modulation scheme that can support an average data rate of around 1 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.

Cellular One will deploy the technology for paying customers in the 1.9GHz licensed spectrum. “It’s kicking off next week in time for the Christmas season,” says Flarion’s VP of global communications and marketing, Ronny Haraldsvik.

Neither party is revealing specifics, but it's clear this is no monster deal. Located in the High Plains of the Texas Panhandle, the City of Amarillo is the 14th largest city in Texas with a population of approximately 175,000.

A statement notes “the first phase of the network will cover approximately 100 square miles, with expansion of the network planned for a later date.” The Flarion fella reckons that Cellular One has "close to 100,000 potential customers" with current network coverage.

Flarion’s trial with Nextel Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: NXTL) deploys approximately 130 cell sites covering 1300 square miles. The first phase of today’s announcement is therefore likely to involve less than ten base station sites.

Haraldsvik is keen, however, to stress that today’s carrier deployment -- its third publicly announced deal in the U.S. -- is yet another source of revenue for the startup (see Nextel Steps Up Data Race and Flarion Greets Aloha). “Although it is set up as a market trial, this is a commercial agreement. We don’t lease base stations. They have been sold.”

Other previously announced trials include Hanaro Telecom Inc., SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM), Telstra Corp., T-Mobile International AG, and Vodafone K.K. (See Flarion Doubles Down in Korea, 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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