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Summary:

Just when you think its all over for Flarion, the New Jersey company with a seriously cool and efficient next generation wireless technology, it manages to pull a proverbial rabbit out of its magical hat. The company has had its share of tough breaks. It was […]

Just when you think its all over for Flarion, the New Jersey company with a seriously cool and efficient next generation wireless technology, it manages to pull a proverbial rabbit out of its magical hat. The company has had its share of tough breaks. It was close to snagging Nextel as a partner for next generation wireless broadband network, and Sprint swooped in, merger with Nextel and threw a bucket of ice cold water on its plans. Like pretty much everyone else in the wireless space, it has had to walk away with a bloody nose after tussling with Qualcomm. I talked to the executives at the company right after Sextel merger was announced, and they promised they will be back. If not in the US, then overseas!

And they kept their word. They signed an OEM deal with Siemens, which got them a trial with T-Mobile in The Czech Republic. That trial has gone off well. And today they announced that the Government of Finland has granted an operating license to build a Flash-OFDM network.

Digita Oy, will build the network on the 450 MHz band. Alternative technology option was CDMA. Digita is committed to build the network in three stages. The first stage includes sparsely populated areas, such as Lapland and Eastern Finland, the archipelago and coastal areas. That will be completed in September 2006. By 2009, the entire country would be blanketed.

The frequency was made available after the spectrum was left unused by Sonera. There were seven groups in the running, and two had proposed CDMA technology. Rest all had proposed Flash-OFDM based networks. Had CDMA won, it would have meant further tightening of Qualcomms grip on the wireless future. The reason this is an important win is because other countries in Europe – Austria, Ireland, Britain and France – are going to make450 MHz licenses available. Germany has already awarded two licenses.

Finland was the first country to adopt GSM standard, and soon rest of Europe followed. This could be the break Flarion is looking for, to make one of the most stunning comebacks in the wireless business. My gut feeling is that if Flarion wins in a couple of other different countries, we could expect one of the two companies – Ericsson or Nokia stepping up, and make an audacious offer to buy this little start-up.

  1. I don’t get your post title. Is it supposed to be funny or did you just misspell Finnish?

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  2. it was a little spin on winning smile. finnish + winning = finnin’ smile

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  3. Hi Om,

    I live in the Czech Republic and I read in the paper yesterday that T-Mobile will be offering some kind of wireless “broadband”. As opposed to Eurotel, the biggest T-Mobile’s competitor, they won’t roll it out using CDMA, but I guess using the stuff made by Flairon. They should be offering it in a few cities during the summer holidays. I tried Eurotel’s CDMA and it quite sucks, with downstream speeds around 200Kb/s. I was an intern in Southern California and my apartment had a DSL, cheaper then what I pay here for GPRS and was like ten times faster. When you don’t live in a bigger town, chances of getting a decent broadband connection are slim. I am a software entrepreneur and can’t live without it, though :-).

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  4. Digitoday has a fairly specific write-up on Digita’s plans for the buildout of the network including coverage maps for the first phase. In addition to the rural areas, coverage will be extended to the capital city region (Helsinki-Vantaa-Espoo) in the first phase. By september 2005 Digita will cover 204 municipalities with 164 base stations. By december 2007 95 more base stations will be added to the network and include 224 municipalities in all. The network rollout will be complete by 2009 with the last part of Lappland coming online.

    The coverage maps in the article are calculated with antennas at 5 meters and 1,5 meters. The article notes, that in the first phase almost all subscribers will have to place their antennas at 5 m, so I guess mobility is out of the question. Downlink speeds will be up to 1,3 Mbps. There is also a list of municipalities to be covered in the first two phases.

    http://www.digitoday.fi/showPage.php?page_id=12&news_id=45650

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  5. There are better coverage maps at http://www.lvm.fi/oliver/upl696-Toimilupap%E4%E4t%F6s.pdf

    It remains to be seen whether Saunalahti, the selfelected primary contender for the license that now went to Digita, is still going to offer its mobile broadband product as a MNVO at the promised 20 euros a month.

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  6. Saunalahti is bitching about loosing out on the license and threathing to take the decision to court.

    http://www.digitoday.fi/showPage.php?page_id=12&news_id=45682

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  7. I did not get the specific title for the post. However I read the whole post and found one most important point that Digita is going to build network in three stages. Wherever the network is to be placed is really good for that area. Hope there will be good coverage and network for all types of cell phones. Thanks for the nice article.

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  8. I did not get the specific title for the post. However I read the whole post and found one most important point that Digita is going to build network in three stages. Wherever the network is to be placed is really good for that area. Hope there will be good coverage and network for all types of cell phones. Thanks for the nice article.

    Share
  9. I did not get the specific title for the post. However I read the whole post and found one most important point that Digita is going to build network in three stages. Wherever the network is to be placed is really good for that area. Hope there will be good coverage and network for all types of cell phones. Thanks for the nice article.

    Share

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