Flarion has been getting a lot of attention for snagging Nextel as a customer for their technology to offer high speed wireless broadband in North Carolina. Even though Nextel says they're still looking at other technologies for wireless broadband, Flarion has to feel good about the situation. Now, they're getting another, very high profile test, as Vodafone (immediately after announcing their own 3G service) say they'll be testing Flarion's technology in Tokyo. In case you haven't been following this, Flarion's FLASH-OFDM technology allows for wireless broadband that supposedly offers 1.5Mbps downstream rates - much faster than all the 3G offerings that people keep talking about. Of course, 3G has other purposes, as it's designed to be useful for both voice and data, while Flarion's technology is just for data. Still, as the article points out, we're getting closer to a day when there's really no reason to distinguish between voice and data - and the fact that it's wireless carriers who are testing Flarion suggests that they realize this. Of course, the wireless broadband market is still quite young, and while it's good to see trials of Flarion's technology, they are still competing with technology from IP Wireless (who has a few systems up and running themselves) and the huge ball of hype that is WiMax - not to mention all the 3G rollouts (though, those should pale in comparison on speed for the time being). For all the hype around WiMax, it's these other technologies that are actually in place today. No matter what, real wireless broadband is coming, and it looks like the market will have a few different choices.
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