WiMAX arrives in London

Urban WiMAX is offering what it calls "the U.K.'s first true WiMAX services"--for free. The "free" in "free service" applies to yet another WiMAX trial period, but this trial is more advanced than other WiMAX trials now being conducted in the U.K. by Libera in London, Telabria in Kent, Pipex in Stratford and Metranet in Brighton. Urban WiMAX says the difference lies in the fact that the trial is based on 802.16d standard kit, not on pre-WiMAX, and that there will be a smooth change from a free service starting in April to a paid-for service in July. The company says its charges will be 50 percent to 70 percent of BT's SDSL prices at wholesale levels. This means that users would be paying from around £50 a month for 1 Mbps symmetrical service, with higher prices for rates up to 10 Mbps. A price chart suggests the prices might be as high as £100 and £200 a month, respectively, for 2 Mbps and 4 Mbps services, but a company spokesperson says any price could be reduced to keep its promise of undercutting the competition.

The company's Web site estimates the value of the free installation, hardware and three months free trial at £1,353 and says subscribers have no obligation to continue at the end of the trial. Urban WiMAX expects to offer a two-year contract, with no installation fee. We note that the company does not reveal what vendor it is using for the gear it offers. We also note that the company is serious: Its Web site includes an advanced postal zip code checker, which takes into account hills, trees and contour lines in order to include line-of-sight connection. Techworld Mobility reports that its office on Brixton Hill passed the test (they can see the London Eye from their roof).

For more on Urban WiMAX London trial:
- see information at the company's Web site

PLUS: It appears that BellSouth is investigating WiMAX technology for the purpose of providing high-speed Web services in areas where its wired network has been damaged, degraded or has not yet been built-up. Testing will soon begin at the company's labs, with live testing to follow in the fall. The 1.5 Mbps service will be transmitted using the 2.3 GHz spectrum. BellSouth was the first major phone company to offer a commercial wireless broadband service based on WiMAX-like technology. Report

ALSO: Wavesat and Sanmina-SCI announced today an agreement for production of the WiMAX Mini-PCI. The WiMAX 3.5 GHz Mini-PCI modules are now available for volume delivery. Release

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