Slovakia WiMaxias

Austrian service provider startup WiMAX Telecom GmbH continues to make waves in Europe, announcing plans to launch a fixed wireless 802.16 network in Slovakia by the end of the year.

The minnow has acquired a license to deploy WiMax services in Slovakia, targeting an initial launch in the capital city of Bratislava and “four other smaller cities.” (See WiMAX Telecom Gains License.)

Slovakia has a population of 5.4 million and a geographic area of 49,030 square kilometers. “We intend to achieve 60 percent coverage of the population,” says company chairman Dov Bar-Gera.

Today’s move follows a previous commitment to invest €70 million (US$84 million) on a WiMax network in Austria (see WiMAX Telecom to Invest $85M). “We are fully on track with that,” stresses Bar-Gera. “The goal is to have commercial customers connected on the first of September.”

Both deployments will use kit from Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA). “We gave the first order to Alcatel a few weeks ago. It’s an OEM product of Alvarion.” (See Alvarion & Alcatel Get Fixed Up and Alvarion Breezes Into WiMax.)

Looking ahead, WiMax Telecom is mulling additional deployments elsewhere in Europe. “It’s important for us to look at neighbouring countries like Hungary, Czech Republic, and, eventually, Slovenia.” [Ed. note: Ah, Slovenia, the pinnacle of success.]

Funded by co-founders Bar-Gera and Werner Kastzler, the startup has also received an undisclosed investment from Incentive Private Equity Holding AG. “We are in negotiations with others about further investment,” adds Bar-Gera.

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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