Quite a long time ago I wrote about a startup called xG that claimed to have a wonder-technology that would render high-speed cellular, WiMAX and most other radio networks horribly obsolete. Supposedly it gives huge increases in range, bandwidth & power usage. I was pretty skeptical, especially given the stated intention to focus on wVoIP as an initial application.
My view that there might be something clever in the air interface bit (although most people I've spoken to have dismissed it as snake-oil), but even so, there was no way that a small RF company was going to be able to put together the whole value-chain including handsets, software, backhaul, authentication, application layer, network security and all the other 2000 "moving parts" that make up a working system.
Since then quite a lot has changed. Firstly, it has floated on the London Stock Exchange's AIM market. It has a scarcely believable £1.8bn market capitalisation [correction, the mkt cap should be US$1.8bn not £, even thought it's quoted in London the price is in $], given that it's had virtually zero revenues and clearly has a lot of risk attached, even if it's viewed as a potential future Qualcomm clone. For some reason it raised cash as "convertible preferred equity agreements of $120 million", although my financial knowledge isn't good enough to know if that's a good thing or not. It's missed its original end-2006 goal for launch of VoIP phones, which surprises me not at all. And it's claiming today to have shipped its first commercial base stations. (It's using 900MHz initially, so not usable in most of the world where that's used for GSM).
... but then I find this announcement. "The first system launch will occur in March, 2007 in Volusia County, Florida. The additional launches will take place in the second quarter of 2007. Far Reach’s deployment has been funded with $100 million by the multi-billion dollar US based Phoenix Foundation and underwritten by a major UK based bank. Far Reach will initially offer the first ever metropolitan area mobile VoIP, with internet access and data services to follow in November of 2007. In 2008 the service offering will expand to IP Television". The only Phoenix Foundations I can find are a New Zealand rock band, a Canadian charity foundation, and this rather weird one. Now it's possible that this is some shadowy hedge fund that stays well out of the limelight, but again, this is all raises lots of questions.
Bottom line: I'm still extremely skeptical.
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