Lost in Translation: A $100 M WiMax Deal for Alvarion — With Who?

Not sure what to make of this report in the Wall Street Journal (via Dow Jones newswires) tonight about a rumored $100 million WiMax equipment deal between gear vendor Alvarion and WiMax service provider Clearwire.

According to the Journal report — which is using as a source a report written in Hebrew in a Tel Aviv-based newspaper — Alvarion has signed a deal with Clearwire, which if true would be a serious bump in revenue for Alvarion, which just posted $68 million in revenue for its last fiscal quarter. But near the end of the report an analyst says there is no deal with Clearwire, and says instead it may be with rural WiMax providers who have stimulus-funds backing.

Well, they can’t both be right. What’s with those analysts, anyway? :-)

We have calls and emails all around and will of course update this one whenver we hear more. The thing is, either version is believable — though Clearwire hasn’t used Alvarion in any of its present deployments, it’s not a stretch to think that there might be room under the big WiMax tent for some Alvarion contracts, especially in the smaller markets Clearwire says it will deploy this year and next. The rural-telco route is also believeable, since Alvarion has a lot of history in that market, there is interest from rural folks for WiMax, and Alvarion’s gear is stimulus-fund certified.

No matter who it’s with, if Alvarion is pulling down a $100 million deal for infrastructure gear that’s a good sign that investors are ready to bet with dollars on WiMax becoming real in the U.S. Maybe competition isn’t dead after all.

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