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Nextel expands ‘4G’ trials

But Flarion's lips are sealed

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US carrier Nextel is expanding its trials of Flarion's '4G' technology, based on its flash-OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) techniques.

Details are scant: Nextel would only say that the trial covered 150 base stations in 'a major Southern city', and Flarion itself declined to elaborate, Unstrung reports.

We hesitate to adopt the 4G designation until it has been formally blessed by the ITU. And we even hesitate after technologies have been given the nod. However, there's no mistaking that Flarion's technology has impressed carriers in the labs, with download speeds between one and two mbits/s and real efficiencies to boast about. Most impressively of all, Flarion survived starring on the cover of the now defunct Red Herring magazine - which has often proved to be the kiss of death.

While OFDM faces a hard sell from incumbent GSM and CDMA carriers, who have natural upgrade paths to EDGE or W-CDMA, or CDMA-2000 respecitively, it looks more attractive to Greenfield operators and specialists. As the largest operator using Motorola's iDEN technology, Nextel has little to lose. Flarion has persuaded Korean operator KT to give OFDM a field test, too. ®

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