Navini Scores in Oz
Unwired currently provides fixed-wireless access services in the 3.5GHz spectrum band in Sydney's central business district. At the end of May, subscribers to the service totalled 25,000 (see Navini Networks Unwired and Navini Talks Up Unwired Success).
The carrier today announced a spectrum swap deal with television company Austar United Communications Ltd. According to a joint statement, Unwired will pay Austar AUS$15 million (US$11 million) for access to “a portion” of its 2.3GHz licence, and will in return also offer Austar some of its 3.5GHz spectrum assets (see Unwired, Austar Swap Spectrum).
“As a result, the agreement would see Austar holding 2.3GHz and 3.5GHz licences in areas that roughly align with its current subscription television market in regional Australia, whilst Unwired would hold the 2.3GHz and 3.5GHz licences for the majority of metropolitan Australia.”
The deal gives Unwired the potential to launch WiMax services in the cities of Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Geelong, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth, and Sydney.
Navini is as yet unable to confirm its involvement in these specific deployments, but is keen to cite an announcement from Unwired last week that outlined the carrier’s commitment to Navini’s future 802.16e products (see Unwired Preps for WiMax and Navini Rips on WiMax).
“We are working very closely with them, so there are some reasonable assumptions that could be made,” says marketing director Maryvonne Tubb. Unwired was unavailable for comment at press time.
Meanwhile Navini may also benefit from Austar’s future plans to launch WiMax services in rural areas. “We have spent the last 10 years building a business that specialises in dealing with regional Australian needs, from our television service to mobile and dial-up Internet services,” comments CEO John Porter in a statement. “Wireless broadband is ideally suited to regional markets, and we want to build on our well established brand and operational capabilities to serve our regional customers.”
— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung