British telecom issued an RFI last week for suppliers of Wimax hardware.
This comes as no suprise seeing that OfCom ahs announced that they will be “freeing up” the 2.5-2.69GHz band (UMTS extension) towards the end of this year. This move will put 215MHz of spectrum on offer and BT has already made strong overtures that they will bid for some of this spectrum. However this will not come cheap and figures of £500 million plus have been mentioned…
Aparently Motorola and Alvarion have confirmed that they are studying the RFI. Motorola has a slightly priviliged position as they have already partnered with BT for their metro-WLAN and hotspot activities. Alvarions interest would also mean that Cisco gets into the picture as Cisco supplies all the core-network (non-wireless) hardware for Alvarions deployments.
BT’s move also follows the strategy outlined in their “21 Century Network plans” wich amde clear that they intend to consolidate all their networks onto two network technologies; DSL & 802.16 (Wimax).
However go do the maths; say BT wins the spectrum auction at a price of £500 million. They then have to go through all the expenses of building out the actual network. And only then will the be able to create some kind of revenue. My money would be on a whole spate of MVNO’s sprouting overnight “re-selling” BT’s Wimax access..