IPWireless Gets More Orange

Alternative infrastructure provider IPWireless Inc. is rumored to have extended its previously announced relationship with Orange SA (London/Paris: OGE), amid reports of trials in Eastern Europe and a potential commercial deal.

Founded in April 1999, IPWireless has developed a high-speed, time-division duplex (TDD) data system that conforms to universal mobile telecommunications standards (UMTS) but -- unlike standard frequency-division duplex (FDD) 3G cellular systems -- uses unpaired spectrum, sending and receiving data on one channel rather than two.

To date, the vendor has announced only a sole tieup with Orange. Last month, IPWireless revealed details of a trial in Lille, France, targeting the enterprise market (see Orange Trials IPWireless).

In a recent report, however, analysts at Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. list Orange subsidiaries in Poland, Romania, and Slovakia as being engaged in “current trials” of UMTS-TDD technology.

Scuttlebutt at last week's Wireless LAN Event in London also pushed this development a stage further, suggesting that such trials may already have led to a commercial deal. Several sources said the vendor has struck a high-profile European win, with one industry wag adding that the deployment is in "new Europe" with a carrier owned by a large incumbent player. Orange is a subsidiary of France Telecom SA (NYSE: FTE).

IPWireless and Orange declined to comment.

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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