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NextWave buys IPWireless

But is the next wave TDD or WiMAX?

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Mobile communications company NextWave Inc is to buy IP Wireless for $100m in cash and shares, paying another $114m over the next few years if revenue milestones are reached.

The initial payment will be $25m in cash and $75m in stock. The remaining $114m will also be a combination of stock and cash, with $50m chunks due at the end of 2007 and in 2010, with the rest payable in 2008 and 2009.

Privately-held firm IPWireless is headquartered in San Bruno, California, with research and development facilities in the UK. It specialises in the use of time-division-duplex (TDD) 3G spectrum and has customers all over the world using its technology.

In many countries, however, TDD is virtually unused - in the UK every operator except Vodafone paid for such spectrum during the 3G auctions, and no one is using it for anything yet - a factor which has encouraged IPWireless to spread into areas such as MBMS (a technology that utilises TDD spectrum for TV broadcasting). The company trialled the technology in Bristol recently.

NextWave's experience is in WiMAX and Wi-Fi, though it also owns PacketVideo - a company providing video distribution and management systems for consumer video to phone handsets using data networks.

IPWireless will continue to operate as an independent company, with one of the founders becoming chief executive, but the new parent will have an influence on the company's direction.

NextWave Wireless chairman and chief executive officer Allen Salmasi said: "IPWireless and NextWave will work together to expand IPWireless' product portfolio to incorporate WiMAX and/or Wi-Fi technologies for those service providers and equipment vendors that require such solutions."

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2007, subject to regulatory approval. ®

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