Flarion and Siemens hotwire 450MHz
Flarion Technologies announced late yesterday that it had entered into an agreement with Siemens to collaborate on mobile broadband technology operating in the 450MHz frequency, which is expected to result in an end-to-end solution from Siemens available from Q2 2005. The 450MHz range was the old analogue frequency for mobile in much of Europe, but has now largely been supplanted by GSM, and only remains in use in some remote areas of Scandinavian countries, where GSM coverage may be spotty or non-existent. The 450MHz range has been re-farmed in parts of Eastern Europe (Romania, Czech Republic, Russia), where CDMA450 has come into operation (you can view a presentation from last summer detailing the current state of 450MHz deployments here http://www.cdg.org/news/events/CDMASeminar/040615_CDMA450/Session1-IA%20450%20presentation%20Warsaw.pdf).
This is interesting from a number of perspectives. Firstly, it is a nice counterpoint by Siemens to the efforts that Ericsson and Lucent have made in the CDMA450 arena so far, and also to the push in some quarters towards GSM400. It is also interesting because Flarion has previously announced discrete, country-based trials of its technology with individual operators (DT in the Netherlands, Vodafone in Japan, Nextel in the US, various Korean cellcos, Telstra in Australia). By tying up with Siemens, the company gets significant backing from a major equipment player, to deliver a one-stop package to operators across Europe, which may give the technology a faster adoption rate than it has had so far. Lastly, the potential for further European mobile market fragmentation obviously grows larger if this gets off the ground in a significant way, especially if backed by proactive regulation such as in Sweden, where new 450MHz licenses are expected to be issued by the end of this year, as far as we know.