Italy plans WiMAX licenses by June

Italy is to join the growing number of countries embracing super-fast wireless broadband after the government said it will start selling licenses for WiMAX-capable frequencies by June 2007, a Reuters report said.

The Reuters report said the planned sale, which the Italian Communications Ministry announced earlier, was welcomed by Tiscali and Fastweb while analysts said the auction was also likely to also attract bids from Telecom Italia

The sale is expected to generate between 100 million euros and 200 million euros for the Italian state, far below the billions gained from the sale of 3G mobile phone licenses at the peak of the high-tech boom, analysts said.

'Tiscali has successfully tested WiMAX technology and sees with favor the opening up of frequencies (in Italy),' Mario Mariano, who heads Tiscali's operations in Italy, was quoted as saying.

The Reuters report said a source at broadband provider Fastweb, which has already tested the technology in northern Italy, said the company also considers WiMAX a potential opportunity.

'It fits very well with our existing fixed-line broadband technology,' the source said.