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Navini bought by Cisco for $330m: The deal puts late-entrant Cisco yet again into the fray of another wireless “revolution.” Cisco bought Airespace in 2005 to assume one of the top positions in the wireless LAN switch market. The Navini acquisition gives them worldwide customers of mobile WiMax technology before the big rollout here in the US by Sprint Nextel (we still assume) and Clearwire. Navini has a range of non-WiMax products, too, which work in popular frequency bands worldwide, and come with CPEs and PC Cards for end users.
Two powerful Senators on either side of the aisle propose divestiture of 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz spectrum for AT&T/BellSouth merger to proceed: Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.) say that there’s only negative reasons for the combined firm to maintain this bandwidth. By divesting, they ensure more competition. An excellent analysis of this issue was written back in April 2006 by communications attorney Mark Del Bianco for News.com.
Qualcomm is buying Flarion for $600 million in stock and cash: I have to admit, this comes as a total surprise to me. With Qualcomm’s track record, this is very good news for Flarion because Qualcomm already has a firm foot in the door of the wireless community. While Qualcomm continues to push CDMA, it’s become clear that the future is OFDM and with this acquisition Qualcomm gets a strong portfolio of OFDM technologies. With Qualcomm owning CDMA and Flarion, integrating the two networks is likely to be smooth and the promise of such a smooth integration could be intriguing to a company like Sprint that has a CDMA network and is looking for something to do with its 2.5 GHz spectrum.
I’ll be interested to hear analysis on how this acquisition may affect the WiMax movement. Flarion is not a member of the WiMax Forum, so this potentially solidly pits Qualcomm against the WiMax community. Actually, it crystallizes what Robert Syupta, an analyst at Maravedis, calls the “Clash of the titans:” a monumental power struggle between Intel and Qualcomm.
WavMax said it is acquiring two wireless ISPs in Colorado: There seems to be a lot of consolidation going on in the wireless ISP market in the United States. Maybe with the potential of lower cost equipment in the future, due to the standardization of WiMax, some of these ISPs will be able to support larger businesses. US Wireless Online is one ISP that has made a lot of acquisitions. You can check out the list on the company Web site. MobilePro is another company that has acquired a lot of ISPs and a breeze through its press releases will give you an idea.
U.S. fixed wireless operator airBand acquired Accelacom: The acquisition offers airBand coverage of Baltimore. I’m a bit curious about what metric airBand uses to claim that it is the largest fixed wireless company in the U.S. It could be true but while the company Web site notes that it serves 28 markets, it seems to only list Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and Phoenix. The other 24 could be small communities around those metropolitan areas.
In the press release, airBand notes that it plans to make additional acquisitions in the future with the intent of expanding its coverage. airBand does boast investments from venture capital firms.
This analysis of the buy vs. build question facing telcos includes a mention of how the potential of future wireless technologies may be affecting the value of long distance companies: The author argues that there’s a debate among telcos over whether to buy long distance businesses as an entrée into the enterprise market or use other technologies to target other high-growth market segments. WiMax and 3G are big unknowns at the moment but have the potential to generate significant revenues for operators that choose to deploy them to target new markets.
A Lehman Brothers analyst suggests that Verizon’s planned MCI acquisition means the company will deviate from its aggressive wireless strategy, which will put a damper on potential growth. It’s hard to say if the acquisition will actually affect Verizon’s wireless strategy. On a side note, Verizon Avenue has also been a user of broadband fixed wireless. It’s certainly possible that Verizon can contine to focus on aggressive growth in its mobile business, while pursuing other broadband wireless as well as enterprise opportunities.
Om Malik wonders if the AT&T/SBC merger will be bad for WiMax: AT&T and Intel recently said they’d collaborate on developing chips. But now that AT&T is aligned with SBC, which has a large mobile network in Cingular, it’s not clear what might happen to the WiMax initiative at AT&T.
I think that the 3G and WiMax markets, especially the first version of WiMax, are very separate. But the mobile operators are notoriously protective of their space and often reluctant to try new initiatives—look how long it took most of them (except T-Mobile) to pursue Wi-Fi. If AT&T was going to be a WiMax proponent, it likely will be less of a cheerleader now.