Tuesday, April 10, 2007

NextWave adds IPWireless to its portfolio

NextWave Wireless, the opportunistic wireless operator of yore, has acquired 4G contender IPWireless, known for both its 4G technology (TD CDMA or UMTS TDD) and its mobile TV technology (TDtv). Telephony Online has a good piece addressing NextWave's strategy.

It is interesting for two reasons: instead of focusing on WiMAX, NextWave it is building a much broader portfolio; and instead of opting to be a carrier or a vendor, it travels both paths in order to spur adoption.

To me it sounds unconvincing because NextWave lacks the scale and power to really make a difference (even if they just raised $355m). I would have preferred a focus on really cool technology. IPWireless doesn't seem to be a winner, with the majors focusing on WiMAX (Sprint, Intel, Motorola), LTE (Ericsson) or UMB (Qualcomm), or some homegrown technology (Samsung, Nortel, NTT DoCoMo, Chinese 3G and McWiLL). Also, the NGNM (next gen mobile initiative) of most of the major operators seems to focus on either LTE, WiMAX or UMB.

Possibly, NextWave is really attracted by IPWireless' patent portfolio, its mobile TV technology (which however seems niche) and some existing contracts. Besides, NextWave doesn't exactly position itself as an attractive takeover candidate.

With Flarion bought by Qualcomm and IPWireless acquired by NextWave, interest may now turn to xG Technologies (xMax), ArrayComm or even CSIRO's technology.

UPDATE: Trial partner IPMobile is exiting the Japanse market. Adjust that earn-out downwards.

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