DEALS: Acquisitions, mergers, muni-WiFi

Philadelphia picks EarthLink for subsidized WiFi service






Wireless Philadelphia


Philadelphia picked EarthLink as the finalist to build its citywide WiFi network.

EarthLink agreed to cover construction and maintenance costs for the venture, saving the city anywhere from $10M to $15. City officials estimate the service will cost subscribers between $10 and $20 per month.



Teamed up to make their IM services interoperable.

The agreement will enable the services' respective clients to communicate via text messages and VoIP. Increasing competition from AOL, Google and rising VoIP players like Skype are driving the deal.

Sprint Nextel

Gulf Coast Wireless

Sprint Nextel acquiring Gulf Coast Wireless for $287.5M

The deal ends the lawsuit Gulf Coast filed in anticipation of Sprint's $38B merger with Nextel which claimed a breach of an agreement not to compete directly.



Teamed up to develop software tools for first responders.

The deal aims to eliminate the need for local, state and federal agencies to create information-sharing networks at the last minute. It grew out of reports of wide-spread communication breakdowns during rescue efforts along the hurricane stricken Gulf Coast.



Launch cordless VoIP phone

Linksys will integrate Skype's API into its CIT200, allowing the user to place and receive calls and access contacts and Skype profiles. The CIT200 is Linksys' first handset offering for a VoIP service.



Teamed up to launch MPLS enabled data service across both companies' networks

The service will target businesses with disparate office locations. BellSouth's service will start out using the company's private IP backbone in the southeastern US but will utilize Sprint's network in other regions.



The companies will offer WiFi in coffee shops across Canada.

The companies will launch the first 140 Starbucks hotspots in Ontario with more than 400 others to follow over the next year.



The firms will set up thousands of free WiFi hotspots in the US and Japan

Nintendo plans to launch its online game service--Nintendo WiFi Connection--in the US and Japan by the end of November.

Covad Communications


Covad buying NextWeb for $24.7M

Covad's acquisition will reduce its reliance on copper while complementing its existing pre-WiMax technical trials in San Fransisco.


Athena Semiconductors

Broadcom to acquire Athena for $21.6M

Broadcom sees TV delivered over mobile phones and WiFi as their next venture and is banking on Athena's mobile digital TV tuners that use the DMB-H.

Comverse Technology

CSG Systems

Comverse acquiring CSG Systems for $251M

Comverse will fold GSS' software-based billing services into its existing Real-Time Billing group. The acquisition will help Comverse's converged billing ambitions for wireless, wireline, cable, satellite and ISPs.