Having paid nearly €100 million for 20 regional WiMAX licences in France, Bolloré Telecom is now hoping to strike a partnership deal with Orange and SFR. The company, which is significantly behind schedule with its commercial WiMAX deployments, hopes it can generate revenues by partnering with the cell phone service providers looking to boost their data backhaul capabilities.
Local observers believe Bolloré Telecom needs to urgently boost its income and would be willing to form a joint venture with either Orange or SFR. This could see the mobile operator having access to Bolloré Telecom's WiMAX licences in return for access to the operator's customer base. However, an easier alternative would be for Bolloré Telecom to simply hand over its frequencies to either operator. How the French telecoms regulator might view such a transaction is not clear.
While WIMAX is slowly finding a home in Europe, its likelihood of ever being a significant force in mobile is fast diminishing with LTE deployment on the horizon. So, Bolloré Telecom's attempt to partner with a cellular operator to provide it with a high-speed wireless backhaul solution might be its best, and only, option.
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