Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The IPWireless mystery in Europe

I've written a few times about IPWireless, and in my attempt to catch up on blogreading tonight, I came across this piece from Nancy Gohring at WiMax Networking News. I'm dying to know who the operator in question is. I have a hard time imagining that it's Europe's largest cellco, mainly due to its steadfast historical avoidance of any exposure to "fixed" broadband, and also the fact that the company seems to be trying to achieve fixed line displacement through existing 3G properties.

That really only leaves T-Mobile and Orange, among "pretty significant" European players, in the sense of companies which are present in a significant number of markets beyond their home markets. Orange parent France Telecom is going hell-for-leather in DSL in the UK, Netherlands and Spain, which makes the wireless cannibalization risk pretty high. Deutsche Telekom has targeted DSL growth in France and Spain, but is present in neither mobile market. On the contrary, DT's position in mobile in the UK and the Netherlands is unenviable, and it has no DSL position to sacrifice in either market. However, DT is the chief European proponent (and financial backer) of Flarion. All-in-all it's a complicated prospect for these two.

Perhaps the "pretty significant" designation extends to the next tier of players, namely KPN and O2? These companies seem to be less conflicted by DSL/FWA investments (and O2 has a legacy of fixed line service displacement). If anyone has any theories/views/news, I would be very curious to know.

UPDATE: A mega-uber value reader points to this earlier story identifying Orange France as one, but is it the same as what Nancy has heard?

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