Siemens Adopts Flarion's Flash-OFDM Technology

Rhett Pardon
MUNICH, Germany —Siemens AG said Friday it will offer a new wireless technology called Flash-OFDM to service providers in Europe, targeting laptop surfers, mobile phone users and those who use other hand-held devices.

The announcement is a boon to adult content distributors in Europe because Flash-OFDN will allow porn surfers to download content from the Internet at an average speed of more than 1.5 megabytes per second while in transit — far faster than speeds offered by other Wi-Fi and cellular providers.

Munich-based Siemens said it will license the technology from Flarion Technologies Inc., and offer the service in the continent by the second quarter of next year.

Siemens indicated that it will make the Flash-OFDM equipment attractive to carriers that don't have the spectrum to deploy 3G cellular data services but still control spectrums in the 450 MHz range that were previously used for analog services. The company noted that this situation was particularly common in Eastern Europe.

Friday’s announcement is a critical and potentially lucrative one for Bedminster, N.J.-based Flarion.

Investors and industry observers are expected to closely watch Siemens’ Flash-OFDM decision because no major U.S. provider has yet to make a huge commitment on any next-generation wireless technology. The deal is worth a potential $3 billion.

Nextel, with 13.9 million customers in the U.S., is expected to make a similar decision on a next-generation standard, and is reportedly interested in both Flash-OFDM and the CDMA standard, which is available from numerous equipment makers.

Reston, Va.-based Nextel has been offering service commercially using the technology since April in Raleigh and Durham, N.C.

And Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel Corp. is also backing a successor technology to Wi-Fi, called WiMAX.

Flarion said its technology is superior because it uses only Internet protocols — not older, circuit-switched technology used with the other systems. While Flash-OFDM is only used for data now, the company says it will be using voice over Internet protocol technology within two years.

A number of service providers also are testing Flarion's technology, including the United Kingdom’s Vodafone Group PLC and Germany’s T-Mobile division of Deutsche Telekom AG.