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September launch for Austrian 802.16 network

Austrian service provider newcomer WiMax Telecom will invest $85 million on a fixed 802.16 network using equipment from Alvarion. Six months ago WiMax Telecom paid $194,000 for a nation-wide 3.5 GHz license in Austria. (Note: How about this price relative to what European telecoms paid for 3G spectrum a few years ago?) The company will deploy 60 base stations in the rural provinces of Burgenland and Styria by the end of this year, expecting commercial launch in September. WiMax Telecom will follow with installations in metropolitan areas.

Company chairman Dov Bar-Gera said, "We are aiming for a gradual expansion, but we are also targeting Vienna. We have enough sites in Vienna to cover the whole city. The big market is there... We are aiming to reach 200,000 subscribers in Austria. There are 1.2 million households still not capable of receiving ADSL or cable services. To achieve the 200,000, we must certainly be present in Vienna."

The Austrian company will purchase broadband wireless equipment from French incumbent Alcatel, which resells Alvarion's fixed wireless BreezeMax kit. WiMax Telecom, aware that the WiMax Forum will not start WiMax interoperability testing until July, insists that the purchasing contract will guarantee equipment upgrade. Bar-Gera also said, "we are looking into other countries. I would like to add at least one additional license before we raise another round of funding. Our first target is central and eastern Europe."

For more on WiMax Telecom deployment:
- see Justin Springham's Unstrung report

PLUS: AT&T is planning a trial of WiMax-compliant equipment in Atlanta toward the end this year. Only last month, Hossein Eslambolchi, AT&T's CTO, said that he saw WiMax developing into a dominant access technology. Report

ALSO: Tzvika Friedman, for the past four years president and CEO of Alvarion, will succeed Zvi Slonimsky as CEO in October 2005. Slonimsky will continue as a director of the company. Slominsky guided Alavarion to being the world's leading provider of wireless broadband solutions and specialized mobile networks with a 30 percent market share. Story

FINALLY: There are a couple of new sites -- and -- dedicated to the promotion and propagation of WiMax. Give them a look.

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