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Alvarion wins $100m US WiMAX contract

By CAROLINE GABRIEL

Published: 17 June, 2009

READ MORE: WiMAX | US

WiMAX vendor Alvarion has scored a significant contract with US rural services provider OpenRange Communications, announcing a $100m deal, among the largest wins in the Israeli firm's history.

The contract seems to endorse the company's recent strategy of expanding its operations in the US, where it sees significant activity among rural providers, which may be further stimulated by broadband stimulus funding.

The importance of this win goes beyond revenue for Alvarion - it shows the vendor, which dominated the proprietary broadband wireless market, still has a prominent role in standards-based WiMAX, despite competition from larger vendors such as Motorola. "All the big names were fighting for this deal," commented marketing head Ashish Sharma. Alvarion has sometimes appeared to be caught between two stools - smaller in scale than rivals like Samsung, but too large and with too big a legacy business to attract an acquirer. This contract will go a long way to calming those nerves among investors, and the firm's shares leapt by almost 12% on the news.

OpenRange is partnering with satellite operator Globalstar to deliver its services, and is partially funded by the US Rural Utilities Commission's broadband fund. Its roll-out will cover 546 rural communities in 17 states over the coming five years, covering a potential 6m customers. Initially the main focus will be on fixed and nomadic CPE (which Alvarion will also supply, along with integration services and core), but OpenRange aims to introduce mobile services in the near future, said Sharma.