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Vodafone's Broadband Baby Steps

4:00 PM -- Hey there, Broadbanders!

Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) let its WiMax cat out of the bag this week with the launch of services in Malta. Now we shouldn't let the ecosystem get too excited about this. We are only talking about Malta, after all, the small island nation with a population of just over 400,000 people. (See Vodafone's WiMax Creep and Vodafone Picks Airspan.)

Vodafone has been dabbling in the technology in several other places around the globe, such as Bahrain, Greece, France, New Zealand, and South Africa. In Malta, Vodafone has deployed Airspan Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: AIRN)'s WiMax base stations for fixed broadband services to complement its mobile services. The operator needs new sources of revenue to make up for flagging average revenue per user (ARPU), particularly in Europe.

But when its licenses allow it and the equipment is ready, will Vodafone deploy mobile WiMax? Or will the technology remain a fixed-line broadband substitute for the world's second largest mobile operator?

Let's examine the best of the rest in the news:

Broadband Comes Home
T-Mobile US Inc. brings WiFi fixed/mobile convergence to the U.S. (See T-Mobile Launches UMA in USA.)

Sprint's WiMax Wonderland
Still trying to figure out why you'd want a WiMax washing machine. (See Sprint's West: WiMax on Track.)

Linksys to go WiMax?
Other pubs follow up on Unstrung's Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) scoop. (See Cisco WiMax Buzz Grows.)

Wither WiFi Calls
On the iPhone?

Well, we're off to stake our place in line for the iPhone anyway.

'Til next week, later.

— The Staff, Unstrung

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