French WiMAX to go nationwide in 2010, but LTE is the future

Having spent €98 million acquiring spectrum licences, French-based Bolloré Telecom has stated it will deploy a national WiMAX network in 2010. This intent comes after the company has owned the licences for some years and has yet to switch on a single WiMAX base station.

Confusingly, the company says that, while it will go live with WiMAX in the larger French cities next year, it will later migrate to LTE technology due to the punishing cost of WiMAX equipment that operates in the 3.5GHz band.

Attempting to clarify the situation, Bolloré executive Philippe Breuils said: "It all really depends on what technology the telecom equipment vendors will adopt on the handsets they manufacture. In itself WiMAX is a good technology, but without an eco-system of terminals its viability is certainly threatened in competitive and mature markets."

"The ability to evolve is part of our prerequisites to vendors anyway. Base-band modules and radio transceivers are more and more separate elements, replacing the base band can theoretically be done without changing a complete base station,"added Breuils.

The company has previously stated that it would consider ‘sub-letting' some of its spectrum to other operators wishing to deploy high-speed data services in the 3.5GHz band.

For more on this story:
The Register

Related stories:
Clearwire comes to Spain with mobile WiMAX
Alca-Lu calls time on Austrian WiMAX operator
UK WiMAX operator granted mobile extension to licence
WiMAX: A niche market only, says supporter