Airspeed to expand WiMax service with extra spectrum (IT – 16/07/10)

Airspeed Telecom has bought Magnet Networks’ wireless spectrum licence, allowing it to expand its WiMax broadband services in the months ahead. Airspeed already holds a licence for another piece of the spectrum and through it provides broadband to businesses around the country.

Wireless spectrum is the space that allows information, such as broadcast signals and mobile calls, to be transmitted over the air.

“This acquisition has allowed us to augment the spectrum we have to add more capacity so we can connect more customers and do a technology refresh,” said Liam O’Kelly, managing director of Airspeed Telecom. “It also means that we can provide a lower entry point to our services for customers who may not require a higher-capacity leased line.”

Airspeed’s deal with Magnet means the company now owns the 3.5GHz Fixed Wireless Access Local Area spectrum licence for Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. Magnet will maintain its relationship with its customers using the frequency, but with Airspeed now providing the service as a wholesaler.

“We have a good reputation for technical excellence and our customer base has a lot of well-known names and some Government agencies so we expect to get an immediate pick-up of customers from there,” said Mr O’Kelly. “After that, we hope to get more custom through word of mouth and maybe from the digital advertising that we always do but there will be no big TV and radio campaign.”

Wireless spectrum has become an increasingly lucrative asset for companies in recent years as its range of functions increases. Countries like the US have already seen multibillion-dollar auctions for pieces of spectrum which can allow phone and broadband companies to offer a wider range of services.

While the Communications Regulator (ComReg) has already issued licences for some of Ireland’s spectrum frequencies, the most attractive one, 2.3GHz, has yet to be offered. This is expected to draw a lot of attention as it is one of the best available for companies wishing to offer reliable mobile broadband.

“Spectrum is a limited resource, no one’s making any more of it and generally the lower you go in terms of frequency the better it is,” said Mr O’Kelly. “We expect there to be a lot of interest when the 2.3GHz spectrum finally becomes available, especially from the phone networks.”

This piece originally appeared in The Irish Times on the 16th July 2010.

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