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Summary:

UPDATE: Flarion, the so-called 4G broadband wireless less company which has been subject of great media coverage is finally coming stateside, except it cannot talk about it. Many of you must have read my post from yesterday on Nextel’s broadband efforts, but what I forgot to […]

UPDATE: Flarion, the so-called 4G broadband wireless less company which has been subject of great media coverage is finally coming stateside, except it cannot talk about it. Many of you must have read my post from yesterday on Nextel’s broadband efforts, but what I forgot to mention was that it was Flarion’s technology that would power the Nextel’s next generation networks. Flash-OFDM is a proprietary technology to Flarion, according to UNStrung, and Glenn put two-and-two together, since officially Flarion cannot talk about this deal. Research firm Allied Business Research confirmed this in a press release today.

bq. The launch, anticipated by ABI analysts to occur in December, sends a strong message to other wireless carriers and infrastructure vendors: The future of wireless does not revolve solely around UMTS and CDMA2000. Though investment in these technologies is still expected to dominate overall carrier spending, rival technologies, including Flash-OFDM like that of Flarion, could represent about 20% of overall spending before the end of the decade, according to technology market research firm ABI.

bq. “Deploying Flash-OFDM or a similar technology enables a wireless carrier to skip a generation, leap-frogging the competitors’ service offerings,” declares Edward Rerisi, VP of Research at ABI. “With Nextel’s history of operating against the grain, they are not committed to either the GSM or CDMA camp, freeing them to make these bold moves.”

Here is an update from one of the readers:
* The North Carolina C trial is Nextel’s third with Flarion, and its the largest. The others were in Reston and NYC.
* Motorola has been working on iDen/Flarion handsets for over 2yrs.
* DT (I am assuming the Germans) is sniffing around Flarion, pretty serious.
* Charlie thinks that this is the first step in Nextel going for the consumer.

Thanks Charlie.. by the way your email is bouncing back

  1. Charlie Sierra Friday, February 6, 2004

    You need much better wireless contacts.

    The NC trial is Nextel’s third with Flarion, and its the largest. The others were in Reston and NYC.

    The decision to get serious about Flarion was made even before Nextel paid $100m to QCOM for the exclusive rights to Q-Chat, over 2yrs ago.

    Furthermore the REAL tell here were the machinations of the Globalstar BK. It was only at the last minute that McCaw bailed on his deal to buy GlobalStar (a CDMA sat company).

    Flarion is the real deal.

    Motorola has been working on iDen/Flarion handsets for over 2yrs.

    Its not proper to compare Flarion to 1xEV-DO, for a couple of reasons:
    1) DO – is really not even CDMA, and falters under heavy loads.
    2) Flarion sports a much better reverse link than 1xRTT or DO.

    The reverse link almost always is the limiting factor in cell capacity.

    Flarion is the equal of 1xEV-DV, which QCOM has ignored for nearly 4 yrs to concentrate on “high-priority” projects like BREW, GSM, and W-CDMA.

    Don’t forget that DT is sniffing around Flarion, pretty serious.

    Consolidation:
    You and your “so-called” industry contacts are also wet behind the ears on this topic.

    Big time.

    Consolidation is a mirage, the real story is that starting in just nine days (ie. Daytona 500) President Bush will instruct the drivers to start their engines via PTT on a Nextel phone.

    What is important here is expansion, specifically Nextel will be entering the consumer wireless market.

    So instead of 6 national carriers in name only, we’ll finally have 6 carriers who are fully engaged in all segments.

    The consolidation story is just for WS chumps slumming for some M+A action.

    The real story is about EXPANSION, ADDITION, and ever more competition.

    Buckle up, and drive safe.

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  2. Charlie Sierra Friday, February 6, 2004

    “by the way your email is bouncing back”

    Touche.

    You know, on your comment posting page it says that email is optional. So I omitted it and the post has “bounced” back.

    Sorry for the bogus email address, but I have yours and I really prefer to be anonymous for the time being. And you have the skills to vet my material.

    Now that the admin stuff is done.

    Yes, DT is the germans.

    Its kinda of funny that the #6 carrier is leading the industry around by the nose. ARPU, PTT, Packet DATA, Broadband, and MMDS spectrum, etc.

    I don’t want this to be a Nextel commerical, but they are the tail that wags the wireless dog, at least for the time being.

    So lets get on with it, I wanted to comment on a couple of other items.

    1) The unstrung article says that VZW’s 1xEV-DO announcement was the impetus for the Nextel-Flarion announcement.

    This is nonsense.

    First, nothing happens quickly in telecom. The “big” trial has been in the planning stages for quite awhile, it certainly was not the result of a VZW presser.

    Secondly, if you poke around VZW you’ll find that they were the ones motivated by the successful NYC signal density stress tests of the flarion system to get their own “rear in gear” before its too late.

    Thus it was Nextel that actually triggered VZW’s “sudden” interest in 1xEV-DO.

    By watching how hard VZW bit on DO, it only served to reinforce N’s conviction for F-OFDM.

    2) The unexpected Cingular bid for AWE.

    Well I mean it was unexpected because it came so early.

    Cingular is the only other WSP still in NASCAR. Sprint PCS dropped out, and AWE was squeezed out last June. At first I was surprised by the Cingular-AWE bid, but after snooping around, I think the Nextel influence is here too. There a few long-term secrets in the NASCAR world.

    I think a year from now, the big story will be how well the NASCAR deal has paid off for Nextel in driving very profitable consumer gross adds.

    Every major sports marketer ranks NASCAR as its most valuable property. Pepsi, Coke, Bud, P&G, etc.

    NASCAR has 75m fans, and 20-25m of them are extremely loyal and passionate.

    Nextel’s fixed costs are already covered by its current base, thus the incremental margin on these new subs is 70-80+%. Thats pretty close to the software industry.

    Scale in this business is NOT how many subs you have, its how much CASH you produce. Its absolutely breathetaking how many exec’s have missed this point.

    Anyway, Tim D. didn’t schedule the CC until after the Daytona 500 for nothing.

    In Atlanta, the Cingular folks have their fingers crossed that they haven’t managed to out-smart themselves by forcing Vodafone’s hand and misreading how Verizon would react.

    I think the AWE auction is really about how badly Verizon wants the wireless operation to itself. That is the KEY decision to be made. If VOD is not successful with AWE, VZW may be stuck with VOD forever.

    3) The oldest misconception in wireless is that Nextel is at MOT’s mercy because of the iDEN technology.

    More nonsense.

    Its the other way around.

    MOT is at the mercy of Nextel.

    MOT didn’t sign a PTT deal with QCOM, Nextel did.

    Do a little quick math on MOT’s financials and you should see who wears the pants. W/o NXTL, MOT would be in chapter 11.

    Secondly, MOT can’t mistreat N without damaging/diminishing their own reputation with other carriers.

    The NXTL folks are very sharp thinkers.

    Furthermore I submit that CDMA2000 carriers suffer greater “lock-in” risk than most perceive.

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