IPWireless Gets French Kiss
The IPWireless kit can be used to offer high-speed data services in business districts, where it can supplement existing data access methods, or it can be deployed as a wireless last-mile access solution where fixed network connections are costly or inefficient.
"This is a major step for IPWireless. The support of a major systems integrator with global reach is incredibly important for this outfit," says Andy Fuertes [not related to Daisy Fuentes], senior analyst at Visant Strategies Inc. (currently developing its Website, the Luddites). He adds that this is a good time for a “major push” into the broader market, as both carriers and vendors reassess their approaches to next-generation wireless, following many delays and disappointments with WCDMA, especially in Japan (see DoCoMo's Purse Stays Shut ).
"It's major," he adds.
A major deal, then, and no doubt about it.
The giant French fancy sees the startup's alternative infrastructure as complementary to its existing line of frequency-division duplex (FDD) mobile network kit, which it hopes 3G operators will use to offer services across their paired spectrum. IPWireless's high-speed, data-only, time-division duplex (TDD) data system, which uses the unpaired spectrum allocated to most 3G license holders, is more spectrally efficient than FDD systems, as it uses the same channel for both downstream and upstream traffic -- instead of two separate channels. FDD systems, though, are still crucial to the operators for supporting voice services, which are still their main source of revenues. In other words, Alcatel needs both technologies, and now it has them [ed. note: eh wallah, as they say in France].
Alcatel is currently showing off the high data speeds -- up to 3 Mbit/s -- that can be attained with the IPWireless kit in its 3G Reality Centers (see Alcatel Gets Real in Europe) in a bid to woo prospective mobile operator customers. The partners will also be showing off the IPWireless equipment at the 3GSM show in Cannes next week (see Showtime for IPWireless ).
So what news and views from gay Paris? Well, no one was available from Alcatel to comment on this deal, because all its executives are really, really busy preparing for the Cannes schmoozathon. So to find out what Alcatel expects from this deal (in terms of revenue and customers), and just how well it fits with its existing products, including its successful DSL business (see Dell'Oro: Markets in Decline), we'll just have to wait. And wait.
On the other hand, we can hardly get the guys from IPWireless, currently in second place in Unstrung's Top 25 Startups, to stop jabbering on! The startup sees this deal, and another similar partnership due to be announced next week, as its route to riches, as it will allow it to reach a far broader base of customers than it could manage itself -- and also give its story the credibility and support that comes from a deal with a major OEM.
"Carriers are understandably cautious about how startups like us can support their demands," self-deprecates marketing director Mark Pittick. "But they already have established relationships with top vendors that they trust," and that's a trust he reckons will rub off on IPWireless through this relationship.
IPWireless believes this and the other OEM partnerships should help IPWireless become cashflow positive within the next two years, says Jon Hambridge, IPWireless's VP of marketing. The startup raised $27 million in its most recent round of funding (see IPWireless Scores $27 Million and IPWireless Fattens Its Wallet) to help it reach breakeven.
— Ray Le Maistre, European Editor, Unstrung