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Nextel Trials IPWireless

Light Reading
LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading
6/29/2005

Alternative infrastructure vendor IPWireless Inc. has confirmed details of a trial at Nextel Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: NXTL), a deployment initially revealed by Unstrung last month (see IPWireless Talks Up Deals).

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.

The U.S. carrier is to test kit in the 2.5GHz spectrum band, beginning in the third quarter this year. Deployments will take place in the area of Washington, including the suburbs of Arlington, Va; Alexandria, Va; Reston, Va; and Bethesda, Md.

Nextel spokesman Aaron Radelet declines to disclose details of base-station deployments, but says the trial is aiming to attract “between 300 and 400” users. “The target is business users, consumers, public safety agencies, universities, and multimedia content partners. We want to have a diverse cross-section of users on the trial to understand how the technology can appeal to many different users… They will be select customers chosen from our customer base.”

According to a statement, the trial is expected to last “a minimum of six months” and “is not expected to be offered commercially to the general public at this time.”

Nextel is no stranger to wireless broadband technologies, having previously tested Flash-OFDM equipment from Flarion Technologies (see Nextel Flashes With Flarion). Last December the carrier announced its intention to merge with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: FON) and is now mulling its technology of choice for its near-nationwide footprint of 2.5GHz spectrum (see Sprint, Nextel Confirm Merger). Earlier this year Sprint also announced plans to trial WiMax equipment in partnership with Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC). (See Sprint Firms Up WiMax Plans and Sprint's Got WiMax Plans.)

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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