This is the kind of day most start-ups wait for. Flarion has just learned that that Siemens will build wireless equipment based on its Flash-OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) technology, and will market it to the new and emerging telecom markets like those in Eastern Europe, and the products will be available in second quarter of 2005. Flarion’s FLASH-OFDM systems provide mobile access at average downlink speeds of 1 to 1.5 Mbps and uplink speeds of 300 – 500 kbps, bursting to 900 kbps. Loop Capital’s analysts ponder on the announcement, and wonder if this is going to push Motorola into action, and get them building gear based on Flarion technology.
Why so? Because, Motorola is the main equipment supplier to Nextel, the only major carrier in the US which has publicly expressed interest in Flarion technology. The PTT experts are trialing a service based on Flarion in North Carolina, and according to most reports, the trial is going better than expected. If Motorola doesn’t step-up to the plate, enter Siemens. So far the deal is for the 450 MHz band which is used in Eastern Europe. It doesn’t take much for Siemens to switch gears and supplant Motorola in the Nextel network. Many feel that the race between EV-DO and UMTS will force Nextel to make a decision sooner, and since Flarion based networks cannot be rolled out before 2006, it might miss out on the action. That is not true. I think the whole high-speed wireless buzz is just that buzz. The consumers are not voting with their wallets as yet, and Nextel has some wiggle room right now. And with the 1.8 GHz spectrum under its belt, Nextel has another reason to bet on Flarion.