Nextel Launches Wireless Broadband in One Metro Area
By Eric Lin, Thu Apr 15 22:45:00 GMT 2004

Research Triangle, North Carolina will be the first metro area with access to Nextel's new OFDM-based wireless broadband. It may have escaped similar services, but Nextel knows they're competing against wireline ISPs.


Nextel must have seen success, or at least opportunity, during the trial using Flarion's FLASH hardware. Yesterday they announced they would begin paid subscriptions for the service. Slightly expanding the service area from the trial, Nextel Wireless Broadband will launch in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Nextel claims users will see download speeds of about 1.5 mbps with about 375 kbps uploads, both rates can double during bursts. The service will run USD 35 to 75 depending on speed and storage packages.

In a separate conference in San Francisco, Telephony Online heard Ali Tabassi, Nextel VP of Innovative Technologies, explain their marketing strategy (thanks, Techdirt).
If broadband wireless technologies are going to compete effectively in the market, they must be measured against equivalent services in the wired environment and not preceding wireless technologies.
Wireless broadband, even if it is a mobile service, will still be compared to cable or DSL by consumers. WISPs will need to keep costs low and speeds competitive to be successful. They will also need to learn how to market a service that fits somewhere between cellular data and fixed broadband. Tabassi doesn't offer any insight, but Steve Stroh makes an attempt. He offers five reasons why Nextel's new offering could fail, all of which could be rendered moot with a good marketing strategy. Of course even with good marketing, it's difficult to pinpoint the one critical factor that convinces users to adopt wireless data. We've seen enough ventures fail to be at least a little skeptical of Nextel. There we go, falling prey to Stroh's first battle Nextel will need to fight, the "fear of failure."