Nextel(R) Communications Inc. announced that it will trial a wireless broadband service in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C. market using Flarion Technologies' FLASH-OFDM(R) technology. The trial will begin later this month and will offer participants highly secure, high-speed, IP-based broadband access with the full mobility of wireless service.
Participants in the trial will include employees from select Nextel enterprise customers, including Cisco Systems, Inc., Nortel Networks and IBM. They will be able to take full advantage of average downlink speeds of up to 1.5 megabits per second (mbps) with burst rates of up to 3.0 mbps, making the service comparable to DSL and cable broadband services. The service will be up to 50 times faster than dial-up connections with the added benefit of being untethered.
"Nextel is exploring the market for a broadband service with Flarion because we are committed to offering our customers innovative, valuable services that help them to be more effective and more efficient. Nextel is considering a number of interesting technologies and this market trial will help us understand how the wireless broadband service performs, how valuable it is to our customers and what the market is likely to pay for it. With Flarion, we will explore the market appetite for innovative wireless solutions that meet the needs of our customers whether they work in a home office or a large enterprise," said Tom Kelly, chief operating officer, Nextel.
The announcement of this market trial follows recent news that Nextel is deploying WiDEN, which will increase its current packet data speed up to four times for the nominal cost of what is effectively a software upgrade to its iDEN network. In the Raleigh-Durham market trial, Nextel will provide wireless broadband access on laptop and desktop computers, pocket PCs and other similar devices.
Wireless broadband service provides the freedom to connect without constraints - no wires, no connection time, no need to be restricted or tethered to the home or office and no searching for WiFi hot spots. Flarion's fourth-generation (4G) mobile broadband technology is Internet-protocol-friendly, which will allow trial participants to easily connect to their main databases and run applications. The wireless broadband service will operate on a specialized network separate from Nextel's iDEN network, which enables Nextel's 4-in-1 services, including Nationwide Direct Connect(R), cellular voice, cellular wireless Internet access and short messaging.
"Flarion Technologies' system will enable users of Nextel's wireless broadband service to be more productive in their busy lives. People don't stay in one spot all day and neither should their broadband service," said Ray Dolan, chairman & CEO, Flarion Technologies. "Nextel and Flarion Technologies make a great partnership since both companies believe in developing visionary technology that fulfills the needs of real people who work in today's business environment."
Nextel has seen impressive results with Flarion's wireless broadband technology during extensive lab testing. During the upcoming market trial, Nextel will evaluate its wireless broadband service - including network performance and customer demand and satisfaction - under real world conditions. The trial is scheduled to run for a minimum of six months, and will not have a material impact on Nextel's financial results in 2004.
Nextel's wireless broadband service is expected to provide immediate benefits to the trial's participants, including Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks and IBM. In addition to large companies, Nextel will also offer the trial to small- and medium-sized businesses and other individual customers. Trial participants will no longer be tethered to their desks, allowing them to spend more time cultivating business relationships without sacrificing the speed and security they have come to rely on from a traditional enterprise network.
Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks are also providing infrastructure support for the trial.
"As mobility becomes an increasingly critical element of conducting business, this trial demonstrates a compelling wireless broadband service for our Raleigh-Durham-based enterprise workforce," said Ed Paradise, vice president, mobile wireless group, Cisco Systems. "Built with core network infrastructure from Cisco Systems, Nextel's service with Flarion's 4G mobile technology will offer speed, security and immediate access to our employees while mobile - comparable to what they have come to expect while wired to their desks."
Helping to assure Nextel's exacting quality standards, Nortel Networks is providing installation support for base stations and optimizing each for high performance.
"Nortel Networks is an innovator across all radio protocols, which is an advantage when implementing robust, multi-protocol networks," said Eric Schoch, vice president, wireless network services, Nortel Networks. "Nortel Networks is providing Nextel with infrastructure support based on our experience with public and private wireless networks of all types and our expertise in systems integration."
Amdocs will provide the customer care and billing platform for Nextel's wireless broadband service. With Amdocs Enabler, Nextel customers will be assured timely and accurate accounting of their usage. Amdocs Enabler will also provide Nextel with enhanced pricing features for its customers. Amdocs Enabler is a key component of Amdocs' integrated customer management approach, allowing some of the world's leading service providers to address key business challenges and build stronger, more profitable customer relationships.
"Users of Nextel's wireless broadband service will not only want speed and efficiency for their Internet connections - they will also expect the same experience with their billing. Amdocs Enabler software delivers real-time results and seamlessly interoperates with Nextel's technology," said Dick LeFave, senior vice president and chief information officer, Nextel.